Twitter recently announced a new ad unit they’re making available to brands via its advertising platform. Have you seen it?

About conversational ads

The new format is being labeled conversational ads, and according to Twitter the new ads are a means to boost brand engagement, better than previously available methods of promoting a tweet. Instead of encouraging hashtag use within your promoted tweet, you can now create something more like a twitter engagement card that encourages consumer engagement with the hashtag. It could look something like this:

Twitter Conversational Ad Sample

Source: Twitter

‘Earned Media’ you say?

When we hear earned media, we tend to automatically think public relations. When you think Twitter ad, or advertisement in general, are you really allowed to call it earned media? In Twitter’s case, maybe. Here’s what it offered in its announcement:

“Each shared Tweet is powerful because it drives earned media for the brand at no extra cost, resulting in higher ROI. Additionally, research has shown that organic conversation about a brand delivers significant value for advertisers.”

With organic reach falling to all-time lows, marketers and advertisers know that half the battle is just getting seen within the news feed of their target audiences.

So essentially with this new tweet, one would pay to get in the newsfeed of a customer and that would ultimately lead to earned media. When you consider the success of many ‘viral’ TV and Youtube advertisements this concept seems a little more familiar.

A new era for social media advertising?

Can one new update usher in a new era for advertising? No. But this is a sign there is a turning point coming.

For a long time measuring social media’s true value was a big black hole stuck somewhere in earned and owned media. Then, things like attribution, link tracking, pixel tracking and Google analytics came along and pulled the curtain back on social media success. Social advertising magnified that effort and the focus was on paid, and subsequently tracking performance got even better.

With each evolution, we get better and better at tracking impact and results (Twitter has the data to prove it). That means we may be turning a new leaf where we pay for earned media directly, because we now have the means to track real results. The jury is still out on whether this concept will stick.

Wondering if you can use this new ad format? Well, it’s still in beta but stay tuned as this rolls out into a broader audience.