Twitter launched a new ad unit today designed to drive more back and forth conversation between businesses and Twitter users.
These appropriately titled ‘conversational ads’ work by appending a call to action button to promoted tweets inviting people to tweet with the business using a customizable hashtag.
Tapping the call to action button will open a pre-composed tweet with a branded message and custom hashtag. From there, the tweet can be edited further by the individual before being sent out. After engaging with the conversational ad, a thank you message will appear from the business.
Based on data, Twitter believes this will provide added value to brands at no extra cost. Twitter cites a study showing that driving organic conversation around a brand delivers more value for advertisers:
“79% of those who recall seeing Tweets from both the brand itself and Twitter users tweeting about brands have taken some brand action online or offline.”
Presumably the conversational ad units will be offered at the same cost to advertisers as promoted tweets. This presents opportunity for greater engagement on the same advertising budget, but will the engagement be positive?
History has shown that asking people to tweet about a company using a hashtag they’ve created is a recipe for disaster. Here are just a few examples:
- #McDStories turns into #McDHorrorStories
- Walgreens creates intense backlash with promoted trends and more
- A hashtag designed for people to share positive taxi stories fails miserably
These are just a few of the many examples out there hashtags backfiring on the businesses that created them in the first place. Conversational ads sound promising, but they also have the potential to draw a lot of unwanted negative engagement — as history has shown.
Conversational ads are currently available in beta for select advertisers in all markets.