Adam Bain talks about the evolution of Twitter

A look back at 12 months of ad-friendly Twitter changes

Twitter‘s a much different platform than it was a year ago.

Twitter's Adam Bain

On the surface, it has a new, more streamlined look and a totally overhauled profile page, but the changes go much deeper than that. Since last December Twitter has been slowly rolling out a series of new ad products and capabilities for brands with the aim of making Twitter more marketer-friendly and increasing its own ad revenue.

On a recent visit to Twitter Canada’s headquarters in Toronto, the company’s president of global revenue, Adam Bain, led Marketing through the changes and new products and offered some insight on the company’s slow-and-steady approach to introducing new ad products.

“We’ve been really careful about how we roll products out to the marketplace. We’ve seen what other folks have done, pushing a bunch of things out there and having too many markets in product and then pulling them back,” Bain said.

Like most social networks, Twitter runs extended alpha and beta test periods with select advertisers, making tweaks based on performance and response from both the brand and the users before offering them en masse.

“There’s certainly a lot of pressure to push stuff out right away, but we take a really measured approach and only roll products,” he said. “We want to make sure we optimize for being right versus doing it right away.”

Here’s a look at what’s new on Twitter for marketers.

New Profiles

At the end of this month, every Twitter user will have the new profile. The opportunity here for marketers, Bain said, is to use the new, more graphic look as a “front door” to your brand – something that communicates the brand message as soon as consumers discover it.

“Profiles get a lot of traffic from search,” he said. “When you type in a brand name or a product name into search, chances are their Twitter profile will be one of the top results that come back.”

“When you look back at what it had been, the profile hadn’t evolved to match that opportunity. Being the front door, the first experience someone is seeing of a brand digitally,” he said. “The new profile design now matches that opportunity.”

Tailored Audiences

One of the main asks brands and agencies have for Twitter is better targeting. In response, Twitter introduced Tailored Audiences in Dec. 2013. Since then, it has further updated its targeting capabilities, allowing marketers to bring in their own data.

“The idea is to help improve targeting on the platform, especially if marketers have CRM data or specific audiences they know they want to target on Twitter,” Bain said. “There’s already high engagement on Twitter, so when you bring the right audience plus the a good environment for engagement, it’s an escalator in terms of results.”

TV Conversation Targeting

After launching in the U.S. and the U.K., Twitter brought TV conversation targeting (which tracks consumers who are tweeting about a specific TV show and serves them a promoted tweet) to Canada this winter. Toyota Canada made use of tool during the Super Bowl, premiering a TV ad while simultaneously targeting the viewers who saw it on Twitter.

“The whole concept is that if someone is having a conversation around a TV show, a character in that show or a plot line in that show, it allows the marketer to get closer to that audience in that moment,” Bain said.

Lead Generation Card

The Lead Generation Card is one of several additions to the Promoted Tweet ad unit that Twitter has rolled out this spring. It has yet to be introduced globally, but expect to see it in the coming months. The idea is simple: through a new button on the tweet, marketers can ask consumers to share their contact info or a join a club or program.

“This is for direct response marketers who are looking to drive a lead, we now make it really easy,” explained Bain. “There’s a button in the tweet that’s customize-able text. The consumer hits the button and it sends the lead to the marketer.”

Website Cards

Much like the expanded version of a tweet users see when they click on a post, the Website Card is a clickable micro-view of a site or piece of content to entice viewers to click off-site.

“If you’re trying to drive a click-out to your website or web presence, we make it really easy now,” Bain said. “Inside the card there’s a button that’s customizable with text that allows you to click out. That doubles with the conversion tracking we launched earlier in the winter. We can show someone didn’t just go to the website but that they converted through the website.”

App Download Cards

Like the website and lead generation cards, App Download Cards offer consumers a single click to launch a download via mobile, allowing marketers to drive user acquisition for their apps.

“We’ve seen people were discovering apps and services through the platform, so we made it really easy, you can drive to install of you are an app developer,” Bain said.

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