Twitter Conversational Controls for Advertisers

Ryan Burchinow, Director, Social Media | Dave Thomas, Associate Director, Community Management | Craig Beyerle, Supervisor, Social Media | Sumita Roth, Data Analyst, Social Media | Julie Hurvitz Aliaga, SVP, Social Media

March 8, 2021

In an overall trend, Twitter is continuing to increase options for users to control engagement with their content and limit the amount of noise on the platform. The latest update specifically for advertisers is the roll out of conversations controls across all ad formats beginning Monday 3/8/21. ​

This feature, which has been available to general users for organic tweets since August of 2020, ​will now also be available to advertisers to limit who can respond to their “dark” ad content.  ​

There are currently three options for replies available to select when composing a Tweet:

  1. Everyone can reply
  2. People you follow
  3. Only people you mention

Leveraging the last option will ensure that users will not be able to reply if you do not @ mention them within the tweet. ​

Advertisers will now be able to leverage the functionality right within the Tweet Composer with any of the tweet formats available within the tool.​

Note – this option will have to be selected for each Tweet as it is crafted

Paid Social Impacts:

This is a significant update for brands who are hesitant to join Twitter given the nature of the platform as this update will reduce the risk of adverse events posted in response to paid advertisements. This opens the opportunity for brands to explore new, innovative ideas on how to communicate with patients and/or HCPs by including controlled tweet chats during key conferences, awareness months, new indication approvals, etc. ​

Participating on Twitter can also allow brands to develop important relations with key patient advocates or HCPs to support new campaign ideas i.e., a Twitter takeover. This creates the opportunity to reach a new, active audience on Twitter surrounding significant moments relating to the brand. For example: a new oncology brand could now be live on Twitter during ASCO (a well-known, highly engaged conference on Twitter) to raise awareness during a time where key HCPs or KOLs are active on platform.​

Keep an eye out: When you launch conversational controls on your Tweets your SMEs should measure performance against evergreen Twitter campaigns to see if conversational controls have any negative impact against ad delivery compared to regular campaigns. We will not know the overall impact until the feature is live and appropriately tested.

Participating on Twitter can also allow brands to develop important relations with key patient advocates or HCPs to support new campaign ideas.

Community Management Impacts:

Although there are many benefits from a brand safety perspective as there will be less engagement or potential for negative feedback directly tied to paid content, there is still an opportunity for users to contact the brand either via @ mention, direct message or past organic content that has not had replies disabled, thus, this does not eliminate the need for a strong community management strategy.   ​

It is also important for brands to consider perception and transparency concerns around the pharma industry. Some consumers may perceive the inability to engage with content as a way of trying to ‘ignore’ or ‘silence’ them. Consumers could also take it as an opportunity to say a brand or manufacturer does not care about patient feedback, so there may be an uptick of @ mentions of the brand discussing product feedback. ​

Overall, and given that this new update is no additional cost and available to all advertisers, it is now time for pharma and healthcare brands to use Twitter, as we’ve seen consistent healthcare conversations increase year over year on Twitter.​

​​Please contact your CMI Media Group social or media lead for more information to determine if this is the right strategy for your brand.