Twitter goes after e-commerce and direct response brands with ad showcase

Social platform shows off advertising roadmap and remains coy about monetizing Spaces.

Twitter goes after e-commerce and direct response brands with ad showcase

Twitter unveiled its ad product updates today as it tries to make its platform more amenable to e-commerce and direct marketers, a part of its business that has been lacking.

Twitter announced several interface changes for professional users in an effort to unlock more performance marketing dollars. Among them are advanced profile features: Businesses can now create an "about" section featuring information like opening hours, location on a map, and one-click contact buttons.

Twitter is also expanding “Branded Likes,” a feature that allows advertisers to customize the “Like” button with their own animated icon, turning the heart into, say, a bouncing basketball. The social networking company tested the feature with Disney last year, where the “Like” heart morphed into the Star Wars character Baby Yoda.

Behind the scenes, Twitter says it’s rebuilt Timeline Takeover function for advertisers (formerly called First View), and it can now deliver more impressions by taking over the timeline and Explore tab. Timeline video advertisements that air before the content can now feature a brand’s logo  in the top left corner, which Twitter says helps with audience recall. 

Twitter says it has integrated with Apple’s SKAdNetwork, which will future-proof it from upcoming changes to Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers, a device identifier that will now prompt users to opt-in for ad tracking.

The company is also working on creating mobile gaming experiences native to Twitter.

When asked about its Clubhouse competitor, Spaces, the company said it is in research mode to figure out how to monetize the format. 

Twitter has been experimenting with a "buy now" button in the Middle East, but the company remained coy about its plans for Twitter as an e-commerce platform. 

“Eventually people might transact on Twitter,” says Bruce Falck, revenue product lead at Twitter, adding that the company’s focus is first on helping shoppers research purchases on the platform rather than transacting. “Our starting point is the belief there’s lots of people that have backends and fulfilment systems and shops set up on Spotify or whatever else, and really what we need to capitalize on is our superpower, that folks are doing research and thinking about purchasing on the platform.” 

The company is also whittling down its ad products lineup to five core categories as it looks to make its offerings more palatable to brands. These include: Promoted ads (which now includes images, videos, carousel  and text ads), Follower ads, Twitter Amplify (which includes sponsorship and pre-roll), Twitter Takeover (including Trend Takeover, Trend Takeover+ and Timeline Takeovers), and Twitter Live (which includes broadcast and event page).