Twitter rebrands ad suite, talks platform safety

During its Q2 media briefing, Twitter unveiled changes to its products for advertisers and provided an update on the contentious issue of safety on its platform.

If you were confused by Twitter’s many advertising options, it seems you were not alone. The company has responded to requests from advertisers to simplify by rebranding its ad product offerings and consolidating more than 22 individual format names into five advertising categories with a suite of features that can be applied across them. Previous product names will be phased out over the next few months. Twitter is also enhancing Ads Manager to further improve the experience.

“Our primary revenue driver at Twitter is advertising revenue,” said Paul Burns, managing director for Twitter Canada. “We recently shared in an analyst day that 85 per cent of our ad revenue today comes from marketing efforts that are focused on creating brand awareness and interest, and 15 per cent of our advertising revenue comes from what we would call bottom of the funnel marketing tactics like performance advertising. And one of the things we’ve done is recently is completely overhauled our entire advertising server and technology stack. What that means is we are now really well-positioned to begin shipping a lot more products with significantly higher velocity.”

The five ad categories

  • Promoted Ads: They can contain images, video, and various other ad features such as carousel ads and can be used at any stage of the marketing funnel.
  • Follower Ads: Can be used to promote an account to a targeted audience to build awareness and attract new followers.
  • Twitter Amplify: Aligns ads with premium content from relevant publishers.
  • Twitter Takeover: Takes over the Timeline and Explore tabs.
  • Twitter Live: Real-time broadcasts of advertisers’ biggest moments.
chart of new Twitter ad categories
Source: Twitter. Click to enlarge.

Related story:

Tweets show upcoming trends for marketers, says Twitter Canada

Product investments

Twitter has made significant investments in several areas, including its mobile app promotion product which helps developers market their apps to drive installs and customer acquisition, according to Jonathan Lewis, senior director of product management, business outcomes.

He said that the company is improving the way customers set up and manage their ad campaigns and how campaigns are optimised on the platform. Twitter has also been integrated into the Apple SKAdNetwork API.

Also on the Apple front, Twitter has evolved its products and technologies to be less reliant on identifiers like the IDFA (ID for Advertisers) offered by Apple. “This has actually opened up an opportunity for us to serve to a larger audience than we previously were for our app installed product, which was the audience that previously had opted into limit ad tracking on their Apple devices,” Lewis said. “And that actually represented about a 30 per cent increase in the total volume and reach that this product could have.”

He then highlighted additional work in progress to navigate changes Apple announced in June last year as part of the app tracking transparency framework, pointing out that there will be some performance degradation and customers will need to refine their measurement approach. However, he said he’s confident that Twitter will continue to meet the needs of its customers.

Platform safety

Asked about safety on Twitter, and specifically in the new Twitter Spaces, Burns said, “A lot of the ways we think about products today are through this lens of how do we make sure that it’s public, the conversation, how do we make sure that it’s easy for people to use, and then how do we make sure that it’s safe. And so as we design products, as we think about products, as we think about policies, and how we enforce those policies, and as we think about partnerships, these are the sort of areas that we look at to ensure safety and health of a conversation going forward.”

Andrea MacDonald, head of the tech and telco practice at Twitter Canada, added that the mute button was a major milestone when it was introduced in Spaces.

“For Spaces in particular, one of the features that we added to help individuals feel more safe was the mute feature. And so people who are leveraging or hosting a Twitter Space do have the opportunity to mute an individual from the conversation and remove them from that space. And so that is a tool that is at their disposal to help with trolls specifically,” she said.

She went on to describe Twitter’s internal process for reviewing recordings of Spaces when a complaint is received to determine whether an individual should be suspended for behaviour that violates Twitter’s terms of service.

“These are the things that are really the most important work that we’re doing is ensuring the safety of the people who use our platform,” she said.

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Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner
Lynn Greiner has been interpreting tech for businesses for over 20 years and has worked in the industry as well as writing about it, giving her a unique perspective into the issues companies face. She has both IT credentials and a business degree.

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