Twitter’s New “Conversational Ad” Type Forces Interaction?

Imagine you walk into a cocktail party and, upon scanning the room for interesting people to talk to, you catch a glimpse of someone that you are familiar with and would like to jump into the conversation you’re having. You casually stroll over, swiping a cocktail off of a nearby tray.

Upon approaching this individual whom you couldn’t wait to join the conversation with, they finish their sentence as you approach and hold up a sign that says,

Tell everybody that you’re listening to me say what I’m about to say and I’ll let you hear me say it.

Well, that’s kind of awkward. A little bit of a buzz kill, Mr. Negan. (Hint: Walking Dead reference. See example Twitter gives of it’s new ad type.)

Okay, maybe that’s not quite the same thing as what Twitter is doing with it’s new Instant Unlock Cards, but it’s similar. And I seem to just like the idea of Twitter as a cocktail party.

The big idea in Twitter’s announcement of this new advertising product is that it will help brands get more people talking. At the same time, this new card gives content a sort of exclusivity, elevating the perception of the content with a type of pay gate. When we have to pay for something — in dollars or in time investment — we tend to give more value to it.

But will this be a turnoff for some users? Will a forced engagement end up being counter-productive and make people feel violated that they have to give advocacy for something they haven’t yet seen in order to see it?

Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

Social gates are pretty commonplace in the online world. There even exists a variety of plugins and applications that will allow you to require social actions from users in order for them to get something from you. However, some networks such as Facebook have actually banned this type of behavior in their Terms of Service. And now it seems that not only is Twitter allowing it, but it’s giving advertisers native tools in order to do it.

I think, overall, this is a good idea from Twitter. Although it may stir up some controversy — brands, use this wisely — I believe it will create some really interesting tweets nonetheless.

What do you think?