Screenshot: In-ad Twitter feed. 

Twitter Popularity

Today marks the seventh anniversary of the world’s first tweet, posted by founder Jack Dorsey. With 200 million users posting 400 million tweets a day, the platform shows no signs of slowing down and is the medium of choice for microblogging and concise broadcasts. The platform has also proliferated a number of popular innovations like retweets and hashtags, essential elements of today’s social media lexicon.

Although tweets are notorious for their sometimes awkward-sounding abbreviations and inscrutable lingo, online users readily understand and digest them and their brevity prevents the dreaded TL;DR appellation that would guarantee their scorn. In fact, brands which have committed to the platform and regularly post uniquely interesting or informative tweets have earned large followings.

Twitter and Paid Media Publishing

Popular Twitter brands, media and otherwise, invest heavily in making sure their tweets are valuable, timely, and frequent. And since Tweets can be an important part of a brand’s owned media, there is no reason to not extend their reach in other media channels. Paid media publishing, in which a brand’s content is distributed into advertising media, allows brands to transmit content into bought media and scale their message to what their budget permits.

With respect to Twitter, this means embedding tweets within a display (banner) ad, an ad that dynamically pulls in the most recent tweets from an account via the Twitter API. The newest API platform does require registration and OAuth authentication, but it is much less likely to experience outages than its recently-deprecated predecessor.

The API allows fetching of the following from any public Twitter account:

  • Updates
  • Lists
  • Favorites
  • Search (including filtering by hashtags)

Twitter in Display (Banner) Ads

Below is an example display ad with the default tab set to show the most recent 20 tweets, autoscrolling every 3 seconds for the first 10 tweets (these are the settings I chose using the Flite Platform’s Twitter component).

Whether the Twitter updates, list, favorites, or hashtag filter is the highlight of the ad entirely depends on the priorities of the advertiser. In this ad’s case, the Twitter feed was in the default position, while a related YouTube video was in another tab that the user can toggle to.

The ad was built by me (someone with absolutely no coding abilities) using Flite’s Ad Studio 3 in about 30 minutes.

Twitter in Mobile Ads

Twitter is especially digestible in mobile settings, since the conciseness of tweets matches well with the tighter real estate of your average phone screen.

The ad below was also put together by yours truly in about 15 minutes using Flite’s Touch Ad Studio. Naturally, I was able to reuse components I developed for the desktop ad above, which made building this ad much quicker.

The ad is mobile banner that expands upon touch, and is compatible with iOS 4.2 and later, and Android 2.2 and later. It’s just as easy to build similar Twitter-enabled ads for tablet environments.

Note that Flite's mobile ads use HTML5, so you must use a WebKit-powered browser, like Apple Safari or Google Chrome, to view them.

(Click to expand)

Twitter integration in ads is replete with benefits to advertisers:

  1. broadcasts your tweets to a new audience
  2. reuses content you’ve already invested in developing for your owned media
  3. provides something for users to scroll through and interact with
  4. allows users to easily follow you with a touch of a button
  5. offers advertisers some flexibility with respect to the sort of Twitter content they want to display in the ad
  6. demonstrates to users that the brand uses a cutting-edge platform to communicate to fans

Whether an advertiser’s goal is branding, getting followers, engaging with users, or fueling virality, including Twitter into display ads is a simple, effective paid media publishing execution and an easy way to scale up content marketing.