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New Ad Features: Twitter

Twitter was launched in 2006 as a text-only medium where users were constrained to just 140 characters. While the character limit has remained, the rest of the app has changed in leaps and bounds: the network now supports all types of media from images to videos, as well as a range of ad products. 

With 320 million monthly active users and 500 million tweets sent daily, the powerhouse network is used across the world by brands, publishers, entertainers and regular users. In the 10 years since its launch, Twitter has introduced dozens of new updates, specifically in the last several months, many of which are aimed at making the platform more friendly to advertisers and brands. Here's a rundown of their most recent products and updates. 

Key trends:

  • Rich-media integration
  • Organic incorporation of sponsored content
  • Improved products for user-brand interaction
  • Native video

Launch: Jan. '15 (users), Oct. '15 (brands)
Key features: allows users to upload, edit and watch video from inside app/site

  • Auto-play launches a 6-second preview
  • No time limit- allows videos of any length or size to be uploaded
  • Ad-specific features include pay-for-plays

Buy button
Launch: Sept. '15 (US only)
Key features: showcases products seamlessly integrated within timeline

  • Brands work with assigned e-commerce platforms to make items purchasable within app
  • Products only presented to correct demographic, thanks to Twitter's intelligent targeting
  • Brands include Adidas, Best Buy & Pacsun


Launch: Oct. '15
Key features: curated aggregate of real-time live content tailored for each user

  • Full-bleed multimedia stories, can include video, images, text, CTA to learn more
  • Interested users can click through for more information

New look for photos on twitter.com
Launch: Dec. '15
Key features: complete redesign of rich media incorporation

  • Photos no longer cropped in display window; image collections better organized
  • Collections/galleries now have larger lead image

Conversational ads
Launch: Jan. '16 (beta: select brands)
Key features: lets users answer posed question from a brand account by selecting one of a few options

  • User clicks CTA button of choice and a pre-populated tweet appears in the composer
  • Tweet can be customized to the user's preference
  • Organic interaction results in higher ROI for brand
  • Metrics measured using Twitter's Brand Hub

    "First view" for promoted posts

    Launch: Feb. '16 (select brands)
    Key features: secures top feed real estate for promoted posts
  • Guarantees sponsored post is within first three on page upon opening app
  • Brand is awarded position for 24 hours at a time
  • Lets marketers better scale their Twitter campaigns

GIF search
Launch: Feb. '16
Key features: back-end integration with GIPHY allows users to search database of GIFs

  • Another indicator of Twitter's move towards motion format media
  • Follows GIF integration of Messenger, Tinder & Slack

Content open to non-users
Launch: Feb. '16
Key features: non-users now able to access tweets and trending content without logging in

  • General news and trends queued, based on location
  • Users still have to log-in to favourite and retweet

Improved timeline
Launch: March '16
Key features: replaces chronological timeline with an algorithmic one

  • Queues ~12 unseen tweets at top of feed
  • Content is determined by user's previous activity & preferences

Branded emoji
Launch: Feb. '16 (select brands)
Key features: custom emojis to accompany campaign hashtags

  • Early adopters include Coca-Cola, Bud Light, Verizon
  • Rolled out for Super Bowl 50, capitalizing on second-screen use during the game
  • Ties in with promoted moments and other sponsored content 

Twitter has come a long way from its humble text-only beginnings, with the app looking to become more of a visual platform. Between in-depth Periscope integration and a new partnership with the NFL to live-stream Thursday Night Football, Twitter is positioning themselves as a provider of all types of live content to brands and users alike.