ThingLink: This is how brands are driving 100% more Twitter engagement

NOTE: GrowthBeat -- VentureBeat's provocative new marketing-tech event -- is a week away! We've gathered the best and brightest to explore the data, apps, and science of successful marketing. Get the full scoop here, and grab your tickets while they last.

Imagine you could post a tweet your followers view, engage with, watch video in, listen to audio in, and get detailed information about — all without leaving Twitter.

Now pinch yourself, because that’s exactly what ThingLink does via a partnership with Twitter that allows any ThingLink user to publish expanded tweets.

“We’ve seen click-through rates of over a hundred percent within a photo,” ThingLink chief marketing officer Neil Vineberg told VentureBeat during a call today.

“With multiple tabs and hotspots for more information, each ThinkLink image has multiple engagement points.” This is what it looks like on Twitter — it’s an HTML5 entity with an image, intelligence, links, and layers.

“If you force ads on people, they avoid it,” Vineberg says. “But if you give them content in a photo, they like to discover it.”

Screen Shot 2012-11-30 at 12.07.50 PMFor example, car company could tweet a picture of the latest Ford Mustang and enable mouseover points for details about specs, pricing, and performance, giving Twitter followers multiple touch points to connect, all in the same tweet.

ThingLink offers an online tool to create the interactive images. To create the image, you simply upload an picture, identify hot spots, and add text and links. Dropping in a product listing from eBay or Amazon brings up the photo, description, price, and a “buy now” link.

The service is free for individuals and brands, but the company does offer business accounts that add more customization options; analytics on views, hovers, and clicks; and improved engagement. Brands that sign up pay on a CPM basis.

“Our traction has been phenomenal,” Vineberg said, while declining to provide specifics. “When you add interactivity to the image, it’s like adding steroids to the engagement.”

What’s next?

ThingLink works on any site or blog as an embed, just like an embedded YouTube video, and obviously works within the Twitter feed. But the company would also like to work on Facebook. Currently, users need to add an app to view ThingLink images within their Facebook stream.

“We’d love it if Facebook would make Timeline compatible with ThingLink,” Vineberg said. “I think it’d be a real positive for Facebook too.”

Image credit: Doro via ThingLink


We're studying digital marketing compensation: how much companies pay CMOs, CDOs, VPs of marketing, and more, with ChiefDigitalOfficer. Help us out by filling out the survey, and we'll share the results with you.