It has so far recorded significant success in that direction. For instance, despite the fact that no significant increase in active users was recorded last quarter, Twitter raked in $710 million in advertising revenue, a 48 percent increase, according to a report by Digital Trends.
The advertising stakes in the social media space are high for 2016 and Twitter has set the ball rolling with mega Super Bowl deals. Rather than running a $5 million TV ad, big brands like Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch and Verizon went shopping for Twitter custom emojis worth $1 million.
With this news, Twitter advertising is taking a whole new direction. The following is a look at what has changed with Twitter advertising and what marketers can expect:
1. Promoted Trends Will Be Leveraged by Small Brands
Away from promoted tweets and accounts, Twitter promoted trends puts brands right in front of potential customers by adding a brand’s hashtags to the prestigious list of trending items.
In 2015, the service was used by big brands, with great success, to boost conversions.
For example, Adidas used the promoted #Therewillbehaters hashtag to mark a stark change in its presence on Twitter in what was one of the best social campaigns of 2015.
However, there have been some changes in the service: the introduction of location-based trends and the cost of promoting a trend is now reportedly $200,000 per day. 2016 will see brands with big ad budgets boosting the conversation around their brands using promoted trends targeted at specific users.
While more brands may pay for promoted trends, small brands are likely to share creative content using already existing popular hashtags.
For example, during the Super Bowl 50, Always and JetBlue Airways jumped on the #LikeAGirl hashtag promoted on TV by Procter and Gamble.
This new move presents a unique opportunity for small brands who can’t afford the service to leverage on promoted trends in 2016.
2. Promoted Moments to Be Used for Events
Marketers will be looking to tell their brand stories through best of Twitter in an instant— moment. Launched in the UK in December 2015, promoted moments will see brands telling a complete story during real-time events or seasonal narratives.
So far, Tesco is the first big brand to take up an ad on promoted moments which collates the best content around specific events and narratives in different formats: pictures, videos, Vines and GIFs.
According to Claire Hoey, marketing manager at Tesco, the #FeelGoodCookbook Promoted Moment gave the brand the opportunity to share its simple food and recipe inspiration content in an even more visual and impactful way.
Sky and Microsoft Xbox are the brands warming up to launch the next campaign. Twitter will be looking to entice more brands in 2016 to use ProMos.
3. Conversational Ads Will Be Used for Engagement
Going back to the roots of social media as a medium for engaging communication, Twitter conversational ads is intended to power more discussion between brands and consumers. Launched in January, the ads come with call-to-action buttons and custom hashtags touted to drive consumer engagement and extend their Twitter presence.
The Barista Bar was the first to use the ad feature where it asked users to choose their favorite blend of coffee.
Image via: Twitter
Primarily, the ad promotes an organic conversation about brands which delivers higher ROI in terms of earned media at no extra costs. The ad concept allows users to participate in brand-led conversations by sharing editable brand messages and hashtags. Also, It takes the poll model a notch higher letting brands create the bespoke message they want users to send.
For example, Samsung Canada posed questions to consumers to respond with a single tap. They revealed that the two conversational ad units generated five times its average Twitter engagement rate. It recorded 53,000 media engagements and 484 occurrences of its related hashtags in just four days.
2016 will definitely see more brands using conversational ads to reach consumers. And like promoted trends, small businesses can and should join the train.
Image via: Twitter
4. The “First” View of Twitter Advertising
Twitter is looking to extend the impact of promoted trends and moments to drive significant consumer reach with the top ad spot in the timeline. This means that promoted tweets load on the first screen a Twitter user sees when they open the app or visit Twitter.com.
When released fully, the ad is expected to appear between the first and third tweets in a user’s timeline, making it near impossible for users to miss.
Currently, the first view ad is available to only selected partners in the U.S., availing them of a total potential reach of 65 million people for 24hrs. The ads will feature tweets with video content such as GIFs and vines as used by the Barista Bar:
Image via Twitter
In the coming months, Twitter First View ads will be available globally—its first ad product sequel to the exit of former product chief, Kevin Weil and other executives.
According to Marc Weinstock, President of Domestic Theatrical Marketing, 20th Century Fox:
“First View is a great opportunity to widely distribute our trailer for ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates’ while generating buzz and social conversation.”
The first view gives marketers yet another opportunity to tell compelling visual stories to their users through a service exclusive to Twitter.
5. More Businesses Will Look into Sponsored Emojis
Twitter emojis have been widely used by users since they were introduced. The alone was used 6.6 billion times on Twitter in 2015, a report revealed. Twitter emojis have been used to champion great causes.
For example, one of the most talked-about campaigns on Twitter for 2015 centered on emojis. @WWF began a campaign to save the endangered 17 of the emoji animals. To enroll, users simply had to retweet the launch Tweet. After that, users were invited to make a small donation every time they tweeted one of the 17 emojis.
Image via: Twitter
However, Twitter has capitalized on the shifts in how users are consuming content and expressing themselves on the platform – and has now created sponsored emojis. Twitter says only its biggest advertisers can buy custom emojis. Clearly, this puts big brands on the exclusive list.
First adopters of the custom emojis ads like Verizon have used the service to great success during the SuperBowl50 in a campaign tagged #Minute50:
Combining branded emojis with big ad buys could be one way for Twitter to show brands the power of the platform in terms of visuals and real-time conversations. Also, Twitter has released the emojis for big cultural events such as the 2016 Election (#iVoted) and Star Wars. Undoubtedly, these changes are sure to shape up Twitter advertising in 2016.
6. Content Types in 2016
Twitter advertising will see a massive upsurge in brands using video and short-form content in the coming months. For instance, Twitter videos receive 2.8x more retweets and 2.5x more replies than third-party videos.
This trend is predicated on brands advertising with personalization at scale, and the explosion of emojis in both campaigns and everyday brand communication. Twitter promoted moments are powered majorly by tweets containing images, GIFs, Vines and short films. While the first view is mainly video driven, sponsored emojis are GIFs.
With Twitter giving the space for promoted videos and the ‘best content’ in the first view, ads will be mostly driven by the best of creativity.
Twitter advertising has something for both small and big brands in 2016. From promoted tweets and accounts to promoted trends and moments, the shifts reflect the wider trends we’ll be seeing on Twitter.
Also, Twitter advertising will see brands spending more in 2016 following the release of the exclusive ad services for big spenders. From the first view to the custom emojis, Twitter advertising means more ad revenue from big brands in 2016.
However, these ads are at risk of reduced reach, following users’ outrage over the introduction of the custom timeline, first view, and location-based trends. Twitter’s announcement of algorithm-based recommended tweets has sparked user outrage leading to the hashtag #RIPTwitter.
It appears the changes being made are geared towards repositioning the platform for better advertising by offering exclusive ad services. Marketers will be looking to take advantage of this, hoping that Twitter usage grows for more reach.
How Twitter will rake in more advertising dollars with its unpopular changes in 2016 is left to be seen. Nonetheless, brands will surely be eager to explore Twitter’s new ad offerings. By adopting a strategy based on interactivity, authenticity and trust, your tweet can have a wider reach.