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Twitter is launching a unique new ad unit which lets brands take over a section of the Explore tab – giving you massive reach with nearly every Twitter user.

The Explore tab is where users can find the latest trending topics and other popular Tweets, making it one of the most visited sections of the site.

In fact, Twitter users might recognize the Promoted Trend Spotlight ads as the same ad format used by Disney shortly before the launch of Disney+. The media giant was given early access to the ad format to help drive early awareness of their streaming platform.

Twitter Promoted Trend Spotlight Ad

While the ad format has now been expanded to all advertisers in the US, UK, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand. However, running the ad still requires contacting a Twitter Partner to ensure consistently high-quality ads on such a prominent area of the site and manage scheduling.

When running a Promoted Trend Spotlight, all users who visit the Explore tab on a given day will see the ad on their first two visits to the tab. After those two visits, they can still see the ad in the standard Promoted Trend ad placement.

Based on their own early data, Twitter says the new ads are a powerful tool to get more attention to your ad and better drive awareness:

“[P]eople spent 26% more time looking at the Promoted Trend Spotlight as compared to the standard Promoted Trend unit. These longer dwell times generated impact throughout the funnel: from +113% higher ad recall and +18% higher brand consideration to +67% lift in stated likelihood to use a brand in the future. In addition, according to internal Twitter data, people were three times more likely to click through an ad in the Spotlight unit than the standard Promoted Trend.”

 

Twitter is launching a new video ad option which allows advertisers to create and run short video ads (under 15 seconds) and only be charged if the ad is viewed for at least six seconds. 

The company describes the new ad unit as a “flexible option for advertisers who care about the completed view metric, but are ready to lean into the mobile-first paradigm and develop short-form assets optimized for in-feed viewing.”

What You Should Know

The new ads are similar to YouTube’s short bumper ads which typically run before pieces of content or as an ad-break during videos. As such, the ad is believed to be highly effective for driving high view rates.

For example, Alice Oliveira, the CSB Brazil marketing director for Dell, says “this six-second video ad solution, paired with compelling creative, increased our view rate by over 22%.”

Oliveira and Dell were one of the select few given early access to the ad bid option. 

Last Notes

  • The new video ad option began rolling out on Monday and is expected to be live by the end of the week. 
  • It is available for Promoted Video, In-Stream Video Sponsorships, and In-Stream Video Ads that are 15-seconds long or less.
  • Instagram considers a video to be viewable if at least 50% of its pixels are on-screen.

Twitter has released a new type of video ad called the Video Website Card, which is aimed at helping advertisers drive traffic to where they need it most.

Twitter Video Ads

The new ad unit uses a multi-faceted approach to help streamline the process of directing users to your site, mobile app, or any other place you want.

It starts with an auto-playing video ad which Twitter says drove twice the normal engagement of standard mobile video ads in a beta test.

After the video is over, advertisers can include a clear call-to-action to drive viewers to your preferred location. However, if a user taps the ad while the video is still playing, it will continue to play while the website loads. Twitter claims this increases user retention by over 60% because it keeps users engaged while waiting for your site to load.

As you would expect, the ad unit also includes a customizable headline and a destination URL. You can also optimize the Video Website Card for your specific goals, such as video views, website clicks, or awareness.

The ad unit is already available to all Twitter users around the world, so you can start testing the new Video Website Cards today.

 

Twitter advertising

Twitter’s ad platform is reportedly in dire need of revenue. Judging by its latest advertising program the company is testing out, it appears that might be the case. The company is definitely getting quite creative in their attempts to find more business, at least.

Twitter is testing the idea of launching a subscription-advertising program designed to let smaller businesses and advertisers pay $99 a month to have their advertising automated by the company. The service would automatically promote their tweets, as well as run Promoted Account ads for the associated account each month.

“Instead of creating and optimizing separate Twitter Ads campaigns yourself, this program will do the heavy lifting. You just need to continue using Twitter as you normally do — Tweeting updates, links, and media that you want a larger audience to see. Then, the promotion of your Tweets will be automated,” as Twitter says on their business site page explaining the new program.

For now, the Twitter Subscription Ads Beta Program is invite-only while Twitter tests the waters. Based on the information available, it looks set to be aimed primarily at smaller advertisers who are using the company’s self-serve ad tools.

While this might sound nice to businesses interested in advertising but unfamiliar with the tricks of the trade, it’s important to know the program has some pretty big downsides. The biggest would be the amount of control you’re giving up.

Unlike normal ad campaigns where you get to select exactly what you’re promoting, participants in the subscription service will have little to no control over what Tweets are turned into ads or whom they are shown to. The company also notes that “not every Tweet that is added to your Promoted Tweet campaign will serve an impression, and the extent each Tweet is promoted may vary based on performance.”

If you’re thinking you might be able to fold the subscription service into your existing advertising efforts, you’ll also be disappointed to learn that isn’t possible. Any account participating in the program will lose access to Twitter’s self-serve ad platform. “In order to participate in this private beta program your previous ads account will no longer be accessible,” says Twitter.

Twitter Video

Twitter’s video features have been a hit with users, including Periscope, the Twitter-owned live streaming platform. However, the company has struggled to find ways to monetize visual content.

This week, Twitter announced it was launching several changes to make it easier for advertisers to reach video audiences and creators to monetize their content.

For starters, the company is allowing advertisers to run pre-roll ads that appear before a video begins to play. Similar to YouTube’s pre-roll ads, the video advertisements will allow users to skip the ad if they are not interested.

For creators, adding these new pre-roll ads s as easy as signing up for Twitter’s Amplify program and opting-in to use pre-roll ads. You can choose to use the ads on an individual basis or by making pre-roll ads default on all video content.

In addition to the new ad format, Twitter is also making some changes to its Media Studio and Twitter Engage app to improve the monetization of content and advertising across its platform. These changes include:

  • A unified media library including videos, GIFs, and images.
  • Tweet scheduling features.
  • Team management and multi-account support.
  • Improved upload performance and overall stability.
  • An Earnings section detailing your monetization performance.

The biggest wrinkle for Twitter has been deciding how to monetize videos across Periscope live streams. The nature of live streaming video makes it difficult to incorporate ad breaks. Instead, Twitter is allowing Periscope users to seek and connect sponsors for live broadcasts.

These sponsors can then run pre-roll ads before live broadcasts begin.

Considering Periscope videos appear in Twitter timelines and live videos, the decision to incorporate pre-roll ads helps bring the streaming app more in line with Twitter’s other services while making them more attractive for both content creators and advertisers.

Source: Shawn Campbell

Source: Shawn Campbell

Twitter’s ad revenue and engagement may be going up, but Twitter’s advertising platform is struggling to maintain growth as they see fewer advertisers using their service to promote their content.

According to Twitter’s latest shareholder letter, ad revenue grew 18 percent year-over-year, reaching $535 million in Q2. Similarly, ad engagement shot up 226 percent and the cost per engagement dropped by 64 percent.

That’s the good news. The bad news is Twitter is “seeing a continuation of the trends discussed last quarter with less overall advertiser demand than expected. This is reflected in both our Q2 performance and Q3 outlook.

The social media giant says there are two reasons their number of advertisers is dwindling while earnings are growing:

First, there is increased competition for social marketing budgets, which requires us to continuously raise the quality bar on the advertising solutions we bring to market.

Second, while we have worked to drive higher ROI for advertisers (by leveraging our current user base, ad formats and innovations in targeting, creative and measurement), we’re still priced at a premium CPE relative to others. This has proven to be a headwind in growing Twitter’s share of overall social budgets and in our ability to grow faster in both video and performance advertising.

Ultimately, Twitter is going through growing pains and it is reflected by the loss of advertisers. While Twitter is charging more than most social platforms, it is struggling to maintain its active user base who have been largely unimpressed by newer features and changes to the interface on mobile and desktop.

Instead, advertisers are following users who are turning to platforms like Snapchat, which already has more active daily users than Twitter.

The company announced several new ideas to help recapture their audience’s attention and incentivize advertisers to use their service. Among them, it showed off a “new look and feel” to its marketing efforts that emphasize that Twitter is “where you go to see what’s happening everywhere in the world right now.”

Twitter is also heavily investing into live sports streaming with agreements to stream games from all the biggest sports leagues in the U.S., including the NFL, MLB, and NBA. The only question is if these decisions will reignite the spark that originally made Twitter one of the most popular social networks in the world.