Making the Most of Twitter’s New Conversational Ad Format

Twitter AdYou may have read Twitter’s announcement of their latest ad format last week.  The new ad format is called the “Conversational Ad” and rightly so. The ad format facilitates social conversation around certain hashtags of the brand’s choosing. Read on to find out how this ad unit works and how you can make the most of it.

Here’s How it Works:

  1. The ad unit is created with hashtags within call-to-action buttons, encouraging Twitter users to post a tweet using one of the hashtags.
  2. If the user clicks the hashtags, they are taken to a pre-populated tweet including the hashtag they selected and whatever message that the advertiser has written. The user has full editing capabilities to re-write and adjust the message.
  3. After a user engages with the ad by clicking one of the CTAs and tweeting a message about the brand, they’re shown a second book-end message.

Pretty straightforward, right? And yet, for as simple as the ad unit is, it’s really a pretty appealing unit to say the least.  The ad unit is unique to social channels in that it allows brands to open a dialogue with customers – arguably one of the greatest strengths of social media for businesses, now encapsulated in an ad unit.

So How Can You Make The Most of This Ad Unit?

Here are some quick tips for making the most of your conversational ad unit:

Choose Your Hashtags Wisely

This is a great opportunity to start a conversation about your business, but it’s also important to carefully choose what you want your customers to talk about. You can’t control their message but you can be selective about what you suggest they talk about. For most brands it’s best to avoid controversial things (duh) but friendly banter can be beneficial.  Hashtags that are clever, funny, or fun to participate in are a good bet for engagements.

Also, consider trying to work your brand into the hashtag – or something unique to your brand – so that when their followers see it, they can easily relate it to your company. If the hashtag is blah and the user changes the message so as not to include your handle, then the tweet isn’t doing you any favors. If you can’t work the brand into the hashtag without it being enormous or vanilla, don’t worry about it. It’s more important that the hashtag is engaging. If the hashtag is eye-catching enough, there’s likely a better chance that users will look into it to see where it originated.

Only Semi-Control The Message

It’ll be tempting to create a pre-populated tweet that says something like “OMG. Best Brand Ever. I <3 This Brand. So Much, Guys. So Much.” But don’t. Just don’t. A message that is an overwhelming love-story has a really high likelihood of being changed or just discarded altogether. It isn’t a bad thing if customers customize the message but it’s easier if you write a reasonable and fun message that they don’t *have* to fully customize if they don’t have the time or desire.  Write a message that will hopefully start a conversation after they’ve shared it – without making them look like crazed fangirls. Not that there’s anything wrong with fangirls…

Don’t Forget Your Other CTA

Sure, this is a conversational ad unit and that, in itself, can be a great benefit to your brand. However, you’re missing out on an opportunity if you don’t also include a call-to-action in the second message, after the customer has tweeted. It could be a promo, a request for them to join your email marketing list, or a suggestion to purchase an accessory – anything, really. You have their attention and, as Wayne Gretzky once said: you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take!Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 8.06.07 AM

Join in The Conversation

As I’d always suggest if you are running any sort of social media marketing – but especially with an ad unit such as this one – be sure that you have the time and resources to join in the conversation. There’s a great benefit in getting your customers to start talking about your brand but some of that benefit is lost if you don’t engage.  Plus, there’s always the chance that conversations could take a wrong turn and it’s important to have someone available to help re-route those conversations.

Not sure if the Conversational Ad format is right for you? Check out the study Twitter performed regarding branded tweet’s ability to drive action.