Twitter has introduced an ad format it believes will help spread brand influence while making it easier for people to interact with companies. Called conversational ads, it has been beta tested for the past few months and is available on Twitter.com and its mobile apps.
At its core, conversational ads are like Promoted Tweets, but they contain a useful call-to-action feature that allows brands to customize the tweet and hashtag. For example, if the Golden State Warriors ran an ad using this format asking which of the “Splash brothers” the fans like the most, the call-to-action buttons might be #TeamSteph or #TeamKlay. So when you see this ad and click on either one of those options, a dialog box would appear in Twitter with a pre-populated message, creative (image or video), and corresponding hashtag.
Advertisers can have up to two call-to-action buttons in their tweet. Examples might be if Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wanted to encourage her followers to take action on issues like gun control or equality, she could utilize a conversational ad with one call-to-action using a specific hashtag.
Once a tweet has been published, you’ll receive an acknowledgment from the brand (in this case the Golden State Warriors) for, as Twitter put it, “having engaged with the tweet.”
— Sport Chek (@SportChek) December 22, 2015
Because conversational ads focus on engagement, it’s likely that advertisers will be charged using objective-based campaign pricing. This results in similar fees associated with Promoted Tweets with an image or even Promoted Video.
While this ad format is good for brands, it’s not without some awkwardness: If you encounter one such ad and you tweet a pre-populated post, the thank-you note concept seems a little less than sincere. It almost seems that brands are thanking you for helping to promote its message and that you’re doing the work. Twitter’s conversational ads aren’t necessarily at fault here — how creative these ads can be depend on the marketers themselves, as they’ll need to come up with the creative, content, and hashtag to help make the ad seem more inviting and less work.
Conversational ads do give Twitter an improved tool to offer brands so that they can better measure conversations taking place around a hashtag. Every marketing campaign these days has a specific theme and a hashtag. So brands want to have a way to unify all the conversation taking place around a specific campaign, and this new ad format could help bring achieve that goal.
Twitter has opened these ads up to companies such as Lifetime and Samsung. Starting today, advertisers in the United States will be able to leverage conversational ads through the company’s Brand Hub.