Social media is already a powerful marketing tool. Networks like Twitter and Facebook are free to use and give brands a means to extend their reach to millions of users worldwide. But what happens when you transition from social marketing to social buying? Twitter is about to find out.
Back in September, the social network started testing out a "buy" button on its mobile app, which would allow Twitter users to buy a product directly from a tweet. Clicking the buy button would direct users to a product details page where they could then enter their shipping and payment information and confirm their purchase. Twitter partnered with a group of artists, brands and nonprofit organizations to conduct the test.
To expand on this, Twitter is now testing a feature called Twitter Offers, which enables advertisers to create promotions and share them directly with users of the social network. On the company's blog, Twitter described the feature as "a new way for advertisers to connect with consumers on Twitter and convert them to loyal customers in their stores, on their websites and in their apps." [Twitter Advertising: 5 Best Practices to Follow ]
So how does Twitter Offers work? According to Twitter's blog, when a user sees a Twitter Offer in his or her timeline, the user can add the offer to a credit or debit card and redeem the offer in real time, in the store. This cuts out the use of coupons, and after the purchase, the user will see the cash-back savings on his or her card statement within a few days.
Twitter Offers also makes it easier for brands to measure the ROI (return on investment) from their Twitter ads, as advertisers can attribute redemptions directly to their campaigns. And since merchants can use their existing payment network and there's no change to the purchasing process, implementing Twitter Offers is simple for businesses.
And Twitter has users' security in mind, too.
"After users add a Twitter Offer to their credit or debit card, that card information will be encrypted and safely stored to make it easier for them to claim other offers or make purchases on Twitter in the future," the company wrote on its blog. "We also give users the ability to remove this information from their account at anytime."
The company will be testing Twitter Offers throughout the holiday season with a select group of brands in the United States, and plans to make the feature available to more advertisers in the future.