Twitter first hinted at its new ad unit idea during CES 2016, but didn't really go into too much detail. Now, a few months later, it seems the social giant is already putting the finishing touches on what it officially calls Promoted Tweet Carousel, as the feature has already been spotted by users in the wild.
The way the new ad works is quite clever and ties in well with the core trend-oriented model of Twitter itself. It allows advertisers to group various tweets into a single swipeable unit and promote it as an advertisement. The real trick, however, is that these tweets can come form official company accounts as well as users, talking about the product or event through its Twitter handles.
The idea is that this can provide businesses with an authentic and sincere form of advertising straight from fans, who already seem to be discussing the brand. Andrew Bragdon, revenue product manager at Twitter, commented on the feature, saying:
Advertisers have told us that creating compelling, engaging content can be both expensive and time-consuming ... We also know that driving word of mouth marketing is critical as marketers want to develop an authentic relationship with customers. Since people Tweet about their favorite brands and products every day, we developed this powerful solution to help marketers leverage social recommendations.
Of course, there are quite a few concerns related to the Promoted Tweet Carousel, privacy being a major one. Twitter has promised that user tweets will require permissions before appearing in a company ad, which all sounds fair enough. However, when the logical question of compensation for the author and his or her the intellectual property rights was raised, a Twitter spokesperson explained that no such system currently exists and that the the parties could work something out themselves. This does leave some troubling wiggle room for unfair practices, but then again, we don't exactly believe the cheesy testimonials on telemarketing shows and we definitely shouldn't trust everything we read online.
Big news! Curate multiple Tweets in a single swipeable ad unithttps://t.co/l0WTGVtI4O— Twitter Advertising (@TwitterAds) June 3, 2016
As already mentioned, the Promoted Tweet Carousel feature is currently undergoing limited-scope testing, but initial results are promising. Disney, for example, is already pulling user tweets form its own handle to promote its movie - "The BFG" and Volvo is experimenting with grouping multiple videos together in the new ad unit. If all goes well, we can definitely expect to see more similar ad campaigns in the future.