- Twitter detailed three new ad products that aim to bring more interactivity and dynamic storytelling to the platform in a blog post. Pilots commenced and will appear on iOS, Android and web versions of the service.
- One offering, Interactive Text, presents messages in a larger, bolder typeface than regular tweets and can accompany content like a video post. Up to three words can be highlighted in the copy and link out to landing pages. Oreo, Bud Light and Wendy's are experimenting with the format.
- As mobile commerce continues to grow, the new Product Explorer feature arrives, representing the first time Twitter has allowed products to be showcased in 3D. Consumers can touch and rotate goods, as well as click a "Shop Now" button to complete a purchase at the brand's website. Lastly, Collection Ads display a large hero image with up to five browsable thumbnails placed below that can drive to a landing page or website. New Balance, Lexus and Bose are among the marketers testing Product Explorer and Collection Ads.
Twitter is adding greater variety to its suite of ad products during a period where mobile campaign targeting and measurement face intense challenges. Each of the new offerings is centered on performance, encouraging actions like visiting a website to make a purchase or learn more about the brand. The formats also attempt to create a more visually distinctive break with the main Twitter feed by using exaggerated text callouts that can be highlighted in different colors, interactive 3D technology or a scrolling carousel that's common on other social platforms.
The performance through line builds on other bets Twitter has made to establish a stronger positioning around commerce, a hot area for innovation. Twitter last month started testing a Shops button that merchants can use on their profiles to show off their catalogs. Verizon, Gay Pride Apparel and Arden Cove have been testing the integration, which is in beta for iPhone users in the U.S. Around the holidays, Twitter also ran its first shoppable livestream with a campaign for Walmart.
Richer media formats for brands arrive as Twitter adjusts to new leadership. Co-founder and longtime CEO Jack Dorsey stepped down late last year, with Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal taking on the mantle. Industry watchers viewed Agrawal's background in product development as an opportunity for Twitter to shake up an advertising roster that some viewed as stale and lagging competitors.
Social platforms broadly are making substantial adjustments to account for disruptions to the wider ad ecosystem. Apple last year made its mobile Identifier for Advertisers — a key way to keep tabs on iPhone users — an opt-in feature by default, which has put a dent in the revenue of apps like Facebook and Snapchat. Google in February announced a similar plan for its Android operating system, though it's trying to provide a longer lead time to allow platforms to prepare.
Twitter in the fourth quarter missed analyst expectations on earnings, revenue and user growth. Ad revenue for the period, which included the key holiday window, was up 22% year over year to $1.4 billion. Twitter forecasts revenue for the current quarter will land between $1.17 billion and $1.27 billion.