Twitter's Conversational Ads - top tips to make them work

15/01/2016

Twitter has just released Conversational Ads – aiming to make it easier for users to generate conversations about brands they like. Andrew Fairclough, Head of Social Media Insights at Carat, examines the potential for brands…

Andrew Fairclough Andrew Fairclough Head of Social Media Insight Carat Twitter social media paid social Conversational ads
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The opportunity

The chance to amplify organic reach of brand content and messaging during campaigns is significant.  Advocates tailoring their tweets with genuine opinions present a huge opportunity for third-party endorsement through earned media.  As Twitter allude to in their press release, research shows that positive brand sentiment (conversation rather than simple RT or Like) boosts brand metrics; it can also lead to sales uplift (the consumer journey is often accelerated in social and digital media, negating the old ‘funnel’ model – see McKinsey).

The value exchange

It might be difficult for brands to have sustained usage of the new feature without giving something back, in the form of exclusive offers, news or content to participating audiences.  Some much-loved social brands might manage this, but the majority of large brands will find it difficult unless their content is super good and tone of voice is spot on.  Cultivating a positive advocacy program of followers might be the best option for most brands, and provide the best route to success with this new ad module.

The risks

The danger of negative sentiment is probably the biggest risk for most brands, especially those who are generally in the service industry or usually see a largely negative net-sentiment score on Twitter.  Posts face being hijacked with customer service queries or general brand-hate.  The timing of conversational ads will be key – e.g. avoiding posting close to big company announcements and days where there is a spike in news-rated tweets.

The winning approach

Evaluating the results and iterating with each campaign phase will be key – test and learn is the best approach with any new system.  And it’s usually better to be brave with ideas rather than go in half-baked – these campaigns will fall flat as they fail to excite Twitter audiences, who will expect fun, interesting or exciting content.

Andrew Fairclough Andrew Fairclough Head of Social Media Insight Carat Twitter social media paid social Conversational ads
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