Twitter’s Buy button won’t take off, but _____ button will…

Twitter recently announced that it is experimenting with a ‘Buy’ button, their first foray into creating a new shopping channel for business & services to hook into. It’s all very exciting but it’s not going to take off. Just look at Twitter’s parent, the newspaper. If newspapers have learnt anything since the rise of search ads aka Google, the most important driver in making a purchase is intent. Meaning no matter how much exposure you give an ad on editorial content, if a user is engaged in their content, they are not going to stop reading, go purchase a product and then come back to resume reading. What’s more likely is that the ad serves as a trigger, and the reader is reminded that after reading they should go on Google and search for the product to buy…ironic right? Twitter should not be repeating the same mistake it’s parent, the newspaper, made. It’s no wonder the buy button feels like Twitter was designing a feature based on how brands used the platform and not how people do.

Twitter should not repeat the same mistake it’s parent, the newspaper, made.

So if the buy button is based on brands, what button would be created if we asked the question how do people use Twitter? Well if you searched why people should use Twitter and you’ll probably come across this article 12 Reasons You Absolutely Need To Be On Twitter, and I can summarize it to you in one word: news. 90% of Twitters users are just there to read the news.

People come to Twitter for news, but that doesn’t give us any great ideas on what button should be created, so let’s ask one more question, why do people read the news? That’s a lot tougher question to answer; people the read the news to get the weather, for their job, to find out about new places they want to try, to come up with topics to fill an awkward dinner date and the list continues…

The fact is that people read news to use that information for something to learn, discuss or do in the future. This is where the opportunity lies for Twitter. Twitter can be a powerful re-engagement platform for apps, by providing relevant buttons on tweets for people to take the what their reading to do something now or later with it. In fact they already doing it for discussion with their retweet/share button, so why not expand that to other buttons like booking a restaurant, re-routing travel directions or even selling stocks.

Twitter can be a powerful re-engagement platform for apps, by providing relevant buttons on tweets for people to take the their reading information to do something now or later with it.

For Twitter to continue to add value beside the content it provides, it needs to focus on how it can help readers put the content they read into action.

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