twitter-click-to-callAccording to its IPO filing last fall, Twitter boasts 49 million active monthly users in the U.S. Any audience that big is simply irresistible to marketers, which explains why advertisers and agencies have been so frustrated by Twitter’s continued inability to serve their needs.

Twitter itself, meanwhile, desperately needs to monetize itself by finding an advertising formula that works.

At long last, the start of a solution may be at hand. Twitter has begun testing a new click-to-call feature that allows users to instantly initiate voice contact with participating advertisers. While brands using Twitter have previously fixated on awareness campaigns – such as by tweeting, engaging with followers, or running a Promoted Tweets campaign – click-to-call finally brings Twitter into the realm of measurable results.

The increasing use of mobile devices to access websites has created a challenge for direct response campaigns, which usually require a user to fill out a form or make a purchase (after multiple clicks).

Click-to-call is the perfect solution. Mobile users, after all, see Twitter ads on their phones, and those phones – despite all the hoopla surrounding apps, texting, video, you name it – can still be used for phone calls. So click-to-call is a no-brainer for driving consumer action.

Up till now, advertisers have had a hard time driving on-site conversions through Twitter. Among other issues, the fact that the platform is so often accessed on mobile devices create a cross-device tracking issue, as users who see an ad on Twitter, may return on a desktop to complete the conversion. This being the case, the conversion is never attributed to Twitter.

But five big questions remain.

1. Is click-to-call for everyone?

No. Major brands may want to continue using Twitter for awareness campaigns alone. Ecommerce companies also have no place here.

But for any business running a direct response campaign that requires call-to-action – that wants to reach consumers ready to make instant decisions — Twitter now deserves to be part of the marketing mix. Which businesses beg for instant decisions? Restaurants and travel companies could find many ways to leverage this promotional format. Dealing directly with consumers also cuts out paying a portion of the revenues to online “middle men.”

2. Are there problems to be overcome?

Yes. For one thing, click-to-call has obvious appeal for local businesses, and Twitter has been working hard to target locally.

3. Will click-to-call be the monetization engine Twitter needs?

Not on its own, where it may just be a drop in the ocean that’s unable to generate enough scale to make any difference. But, as the opening salvo in a push towards becoming a lead-generating leader, it might prove to be a real game-changer.

4. Will click-to-call finally be advertisers’ opening to those 49 million monthly Twitter users?

That too remains to be seen. But now, with minimal budget, advertisers have a metric that can be tested. It will be easy to test the effectiveness of Twitter pay-per-call versus other direct response media. Simply assign the Twitter campaign its own phone number, and you can test comparative conversions based on a KPI that makes sense.

5. Can you summarize in 140 characters or less?

Twitter’s click-to-call direct response tool may be its long-sought breakthrough in serving advertisers. That’s a win-win for both parties.

Originally published May 21, 2014 3:00:39 AM, updated July 28 2017

Topics:

Twitter Marketing