Advertising methods are constantly evolving, and with the growth of social media marketing comes conversation advertising. This advertising approach, which has become increasingly popular among companies over the last few years, comes in different forms. A key example of this is Twitter’s conversation targeting feature.

  • Twitter expanded its TV ad targeting to conversation targeting this November. This feature allows brands to promote tweets to TV viewers who engage in conversation about particular certain shows.
    • This is not to be confused with Twitter’s TV ad targeting feature, launched in July 2013, which allows marketers to engage directly with Twitter users who have likely been exposed to their ads on TV.
    • According a post on Twitter’s blog, Twitter partnered with Nielsen’s Marketing Analytics group to run a marketing mix model. They found that, on average, when TV advertising is paired with Twitter paid media, TV ads drive 8-16% more sales directionally.
  • This form of marketing does not always prove effective, however.
    • The Microsoft-owned video-chat company Skype launched its own conversation advertising feature in July 2012. Ads appear in the call windows of Skype users who do not have Skype Credit or subscriptions when making 1:1 Skype-to-Skype audio calls.
    • Many users were less than thrilled. A Venture Beat article claimed, “Skype is pushing ads into the conversation view, basically forcing its users to take in a little commercial content with each call they make.”

Evidently, a certain balance is needed in advertising, in which marketers can be noticed without overly intruding on the user’s social media experience.

  • According to this AdSense article, publishers have found that website visitors are more likely to click on advertisements that blend cleanly into the color scheme and background of the website.
  • This Audi ad invites you, as the viewer, to interact with it, and it does not link you to an unknown page. It clearly advertises the brand but also does not interfere with your visit to the website.
  • Here are some more examples of unobtrusive yet amazingly effective advertisements that companies have used.

Is conversation advertising a potential answer to finding this balance? Apparently, it has not been as widely praised with certain companies as it has been with others. Yet this may not necessarily mean that traditional one-way advertising can’t play a role in communicating with consumers, as this Bloomberg article points out.

One thing we can safely conclude: creativity and visual appeal in an advertisement, combined with voluntary consumer/brand interaction, will almost certainly grab consumers’ attention.