By Alison Weissbrot
Twitter wants to be a destination for direct response advertisers as well as the brands that have been on the platform for years.
To do that, it’s investing in new and revamped performance ad products that will drive its users to install apps, click on videos and eventually even make purchases.
“When I got to Twitter, the core and focus was the brand business,” said Bruce Falck, revenue product lead at Twitter, at a press roundtable on Wednesday. “It’s really important we continue to grow that, but a big part of how we grow is moving down the funnel.”
This past year, Twitter rebuilt its ad server to allow it to build products more quickly for direct response advertisers. The platform has practically doubled the number of new and enhanced products it shipped from 56 to more than 100 since the ad server rebuild, Falck said.
Twitter also rebranded and redesigned its ad buying interface, which media buyers called out in the past as clunky and inefficient. The new ad suite renames some of Twitter’s popular ad formats and makes it easier to build promoted tweets and campaigns on the platform.
Performance on the mind
The new ad server has allowed Twitter to improve its direct response products and build new ones. Revamped products include website click and conversion attribution and an algorithm that helps performance brands drive results.
Twitter is also rebuilding Mobile App Promotion, its mobile app-install product, with an improved interface to build ads and a new bidding product that lowers the cost-per-install. MAP revenues were up 50% in Q4 thanks to the improvements.
On the road map are new app-install products that support gaming experiences, a product that optimizes for video completion and another that drives web conversions, as well as new performance ad formats, including carousels.
But Twitter isn’t forgetting about its brand advertisers. It’s moving forward with branded likes, which it began testing in July, brand timeline takeovers and promoted trend spotlights. It’s also investing in its Amplify video product and redesigning its pre-roll ads to include logos.
As it grows its offering, Twitter is expanding measurement partnerships with Nielsen, Neustar, Integral Ad Science and DoubleVerify, and has committed to MRC accreditation for brand safety, viewability, audience measurement and bot detection.
Small business, big focus
Twitter’s new solutions are all about attracting more small businesses to the platform, which are the growth engine of major platforms like Facebook and Google.
But to grow the number of small business advertisers on the platform, Twitter first has to get them on organically.
To make Twitter a more appealing destination for small businesses, the platform is creating new targeting, budgeting and reach estimate tools on Quick Promote, which helps businesses set up campaigns quickly and easily. And its launching professional profiles for businesses, nonprofits, publishers and creators.
While Twitter has its eyes on commerce down the line, “in the short-term, we’ll have them transact off platform,” Falck said.
“People might eventually transact on Twitter,” Falck said. “That’s not our starting point.”
IDFA on the mind
As Twitter builds out its performance suite, it’s mindful of the impact Apple’s removal of its mobile identifier, IDFA from its devices, will have on its ability to deliver and measure results.
Twitter joined SKAdNetwork, Apple’s framework for preserving mobile app-install attribution. It’s also building contextual targeting tools, like the ability to target groups against topics and content they have expressed interest in, as well as publishers that create similar categories of content.
“It’s still too early to know how the industry will evolve but we’ve started to adjust our products and technology,” said Jonathan Lewis, senior director of product management at Twitter.