Twitter’s looking to expand its ad inventory with a new placement option, within the reply threads of tweets.
Starting today, we’re trying something different and testing a new ad format in Tweet conversations. If you’re a part of this test (which is global; on iOS & Android only), you’ll see ads after the first, third or eighth reply under a Tweet. 🗣️ pic.twitter.com/kvIGeYt2vp
— bruce.falck() 🦗 (@boo) October 13, 2021
As you can see in this example, posted by Twitter Revenue Product Lead Bruce Falck, the new ad option would see promotions displayed within the first few replies to a tweet, ‘right where the conversation is happening’, as per Twitter’s announcement.
Reddit announced similar within its post comments just last month.
The format is currently only in testing, so only certain users will see the promoted tweets. But even then, you can imagine there will be backlash, with Twitter users generally resistant to any change, especially one that puts more ads in their way, and distracts them from the discussion in the app.
But there is an interesting, alternate angle to this new experiment. As Falck further notes, the option could essentially facilitate direct monetization of tweets, with the tweet creator able to opt-in to these ads, then get a cut of the resulting revenue.
Which aligns with Twitter’s broader creator monetization push, providing more incentive to keep its most popular users tweeting more often, while it could be interesting, also, to enable retrospective activation of such, on a selective basis.
For example, right now, when a tweet goes viral, you’ll often see the tweet creator then add in an additional reply, highlighting their SoundCloud or a charitable cause which they can then bring more attention to as a result of that tweet.
But what if you could directly monetize all of your viral tweets, and get paid for their performance?
Ideally, through this process, you wouldn’t need to opt-in to monetize all of your tweet replies (and, of course, there would be a reply threshold to qualify for this display anyway). But maybe, if you could turn it on for certain tweets, that could be a big winner for the app, and could provide even more incentive for users to try to go viral with their witty responses and takes.
Which might not be a good thing, as most people simply aren’t that great at tweeting. But for those that are, and who regularly see strong traction, it could be a valuable option, while it would also give more people more reason to keep trying, and remain more active in the app.
Twitter says that the test is in early stages, and that it’ll try out different frequencies, layouts, and ‘contextually relevant placements’ over the coming months.
But there are some interesting considerations here. And for brands, maybe being able to tack your messaging onto a viral tweet could have significant awareness value, especially if Twitter can establish valuable context tools for targeting.