twitter-launches-promoted-trend-spotlight-– a-new-takeover-ad-unit-in-the-expore-tab

Twitter announced the launch of a new takeover ad unit called the Promoted Trend Spotlight on Monday. The format, which Twitter first started testing in 2018, enables advertisers to take up “premium real estate” in the top section of Twitter’s Explore tab.

Here’s what it looks like:

How it works. Much like Twitter’s Promoted Trend ads (which appear as 24-hour takeover ads on Twitter’s Trends list), the Promoted Trend Spotlight supports 6-second videos and GIFs as well as static images. These ads appear at the top of the Explore tab for the first two visits, per user, per day. After the ad is viewed twice, the placement moves to the standard ‘Promoted Trend’ placement and organic editorial content is pushed back into the Spotlight placement. 

Advertisers can further optimize messaging by switching up the creative throughout the day. The ad is optimized for both mobile and desktop, with the ad running edge-to-edge on mobile.

Promoted Trend Spotlight ads are currently available to all advertisers in the US, UK, and Japan. Twitter said it plans roll it out to 12 additional markets in the coming months, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, and Thailand. 

Why we care. In a viewability study from market research firm EyeSee, Promoted Trend Spotlight ads generated 113% higher ad recall and 18% higher brand consideration, along with a 67% lift in stated likelihood to use a brand in the future. Users were 3x times more likely to click through an ad in the Spotlight unit than the standard Promoted Trend, Twitter reported.

About The Author

Taylor Peterson is Third Door Media’s Deputy Editor, managing industry-leading coverage that informs and inspires marketers. Based in New York, Taylor brings marketing expertise grounded in creative production and agency advertising for global brands. Taylor’s editorial focus blends digital marketing and creative strategy with topics like campaign management, emerging formats, and display advertising.


Twitter is giving brands and users more control over their social narratives with the ability to hide Tweet replies. The feature is rolling out globally after months of testing in some countries, including Canada and the U.S. Twitter made the announcement via a blog post on Thursday.

“Currently, repliers can shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what you and your audience want to talk about,” the company said. “We learned that the feature is a useful new way to manage your conversations.”

How it works. Users can opt to hide replies to the tweets they create. However, users can still see and engage with hidden replies by selecting the “View hidden replies” option in the Tweet’s dropdown.

A Tweet author also has the option to unhide all replies – or a single reply – at any time. When a Tweet author hides a reply, the author of the reply will not be notified. 

Why we should care. When the feature was still in beta, Twitter said it found that the majority of users hid replies that they believed to be irrelevant, off-topic, and “annoying.”

For brands, the ability to hide Tweet replies could help give them more control over the context of their engagements – such as weeding out spam replies. On the other hand, hiding all replies could have a negative impact for users who rely on replies to find out more information about the product or topic discussed.

How it’s available. The hide replies feature is now available globally for all Twitter users on iOS, Android, and desktop, but is not currently available on Tweetdeck. The feature marks another step by Twitter to continue cleaning up its content ecosystem by providing more controls for users.

About The Author

Taylor Peterson is Third Door Media’s Deputy Editor, managing industry-leading coverage that informs and inspires marketers. Based in New York, Taylor brings marketing expertise grounded in creative production and agency advertising for global brands. Taylor’s editorial focus blends digital marketing and creative strategy with topics like campaign management, emerging formats, and display advertising.


Marketers who aren’t using a third-party tool to compose and schedule tweets could find this quite handy.

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Twitter is experimenting with a feature that lets users schedule Tweets natively on The company has not confirmed how widespread the test is at this point.

Marketers who aren't using a third-party tool to compose and schedule tweets could soon have this capability right from
Tweet scheduling from Twitter’s TweetDeck is coming to

The test was confirmed by Twitter’s standalone app TweetDeck, which enables users to manage, sort, and schedule tweets across various Twitter accounts.

Tweet scheduling on Yes please! Starting today, we’re experimenting with bringing one of @TweetDeck’s handiest time-saving features into Twitter. Tell us what you think if you’re part of the experiment.

— TweetDeck (@TweetDeck) November 20, 2019

Why we should care. The vast majority of Twitter users do not use TweetDeck or another third-party tool to manage their activities. Having scheduling capabilities available on will make it easier for more marketers, influencers and social media managers to write and schedule tweets from their desks or even on-the-go via the mobile web. If Twitter rolls out the feature to all users, brands could end up relying less on third-party social management platforms to compose and schedule content.

About The Author

Taylor Peterson is Third Door Media’s Deputy Editor, managing industry-leading coverage that informs and inspires marketers. Based in New York, Taylor brings marketing expertise grounded in creative production and agency advertising for global brands. Taylor’s editorial focus blends digital marketing and creative strategy with topics like campaign management, emerging formats, and display advertising.


Twitter reported $702 million in ad revenue for the third quarter of 2019 Thursday, an increase of just 8% year-over-year. Twitter’s total revenue for the quarter was $824 million, up 9% from the prior year, with a net margin of 4%, compared to 14% a year ago. Daily users on the platform continue to tick up.

Product problems. The company attributed the drop in ad revenue to product issues, specifically its Mobile Application Promotion (MAP) product and personalization and data settings. The company said the issues potentially impacted year-over-year growth by three or more points.

“More work remains to deliver improved revenue products. We’ll continue to prioritize our ad products along with health and our investments to drive ongoing growth in mDAUs,” said Twitter CFO Ned Segal.

Ad engagements are up, costs are down. Total ad engagements were up 23% year-over-year, in line with the growth seen in the past two quarters. Advertisers are paying less for those engagements. Cost per engagement dropped sharply, off 12% year-over-year.

Slow but steady user growth. Twitter’s mDAUs (monetized daily active users) increased by 17% compared to the prior year, up from 124 million to 145 million. U.S. mDAUs grew by 15% year-over-year to 30 million, up from 26 million.

On a quarter-over-quarter basis, mDAUs grew by just 4%. A trend similar to Snap which also reported 4% growth in DAUs during the third quarter of 2019 to 210 million.

This is the third quarter Twitter has reported the mDAU metric. The company decided in February to focus on authenticated users it is able to show ads to and moved away from the monthly active user (MAU) metric after it saw a noticeable slide in MAUs after efforts to purge spam accounts from the platform.

Why we should care. Arguably, the most concerning detail for advertisers coming out of Twitter’s third quarter earnings report are the reported issues with its Mobile Application Promotion product (a suite of products designed for app marketers on the platform) and personalization and data settings.

In its letter to shareholders, the company said it discovered — and took steps to fix — a bug that affected its Mobile Application Promotion product which impacted Twitter’s ability to target ads and share data with measurement and ad partners. “We also discovered that certain personalization and data settings were not operating as expected,” wrote Twitter.

The company expects the ad product issues will have an even greater impact on its fourth-quarter results, causing four or more points of reduced year-over-year revenue growth. “The increase reflects a full-quarter impact in Q4 vs. only a partial-quarter impact in Q3,” Twitter said.

About The Author

Amy Gesenhues is a senior editor for Third Door Media, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land, Search Engine Land and MarTech Today. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs, SoftwareCEO, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.


Twitter announced on Tuesday it inadvertently used emails and phone numbers entered for two-factor authentication (2FA), a security measure users can enable to protect their accounts, to target ads to some users included in Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences lists.

The company said, as of September 17, the mistake had been corrected and that it was no longer using two-factor phone numbers or email addresses to target ads.

What happened? Twitter’s Tailored Audiences and Partner Audiences allow advertisers to target users based on marketing lists they upload to upload to Twitter. The company admits that in some cases it matched that data to emails and phone numbers intended for security purposes — a practice Twitter has said in the past it does not do. It said it is unsure how many users may have been impacted.

“When an advertiser uploaded their marketing list, we may have matched people on Twitter to their list based on the email or phone number the Twitter account holder provided for safety and security purposes,” said Twitter.

The company called it an error and apologized for misusing user data to target ads. It also said no user data was shared externally with marketing partners or other third-parties.

Background on 2FA and ad targeting. A year ago, researchers at Northwestern University discovered Facebook was using phone numbers entered by users for 2FA purposes to target ads on the platform.

The difference between what Facebook was doing and what happened with Twitter is that Facebook acknowledged this was a regular practice on the platform. Twitter’s data misuse was a mistake. Facebook told Marketing Land at the time: “We’re clear with people that we use the information people provide to offer a more personalized experience, including showing more relevant ads. So when someone adds a phone number to their account for example, at sign up, on their profile, or during the two-factor authentication signup — we use this information for the same purposes.”

Among the social networks we surveyed at the time– Twitter, Snapchat, LInkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit and Facebook — Facebook was the only company to say it uses data provided for security purposes for ad targeting.

Why we should care. Advertising platforms have been under scrutiny for their historically lax data practices for years now. Eight years ago, Twitter agreed to a settlement with the FTC over charges that it “deceived consumers and put their privacy at risk by failing to safeguard their personal information.” As part of that settlement, Twitter was barred for 20 years from misleading users about how it protects their “nonpublic” information, i.e. data entered for 2FA. This latest mishandling could bring further FTC scrutiny. In July, the FTC imposed a $5 billion fine on Facebook for sloppy user data handling and violations of its own 2012 consent decree.

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Twitter’s controversial “Hide Replies” feature, aimed at civilizing conversations on its platform, is launching today in the U.S. and Japan after earlier tests in Canada. The addition is one of the more radical changes to Twitter to date. It puts people back in control of a conversation they’ve started by giving them the ability to hide those contributions they think are unworthy.

These replies, which may range from the irrelevant to the outright offensive, aren’t actually deleted from Twitter. They’re just put behind an extra click.

That means people who come into a conversation to cause drama, make inappropriate remarks or bully and abuse others won’t have their voices heard by the majority of the conversation’s participants. Only those who choose to view the hidden replies will see those posts.


Other social media platforms don’t give so much power to commenters to disrupt conversations. On Facebook and Instagram, for example, you can delete any replies to your own posts.

But Twitter has a different vibe. It’s meant to be a public town square, where everyone has a right to speak (within reason.)

Unfortunately, Twitter’s open nature also led to bullying and abuse. Before today, the only options Twitter offered were to mute, block and report users. Blocking and muting, however, only impact your own Twitter experience. You may no longer see posts from those users, but others still could. Reporting a tweet is also a complicated process that takes time. It’s not an immediate solution for a conversation rapidly spinning out of control.

While “Hide Replies” will help address these problems, it ships with challenges of its own, too. It could be used as a way to silence dissenting opinions, including those expressed thoughtfully, or even fact-checked clarifications.

Twitter believes the feature will ultimately encourage people to better behave when posting to its platform.

“We already see people trying to keep their conversations healthy by using block, mute, and report, but these tools don’t always address the issue. Block and mute only change the experience of the blocker, and report only works for the content that violates our policies,” explained Twitter’s PM of Health Michelle Yasmeen Haq earlier this year.


Since launching in Canada in July, Twitter said that people mostly used the feature to hide replies they found were irrelevant, abusive or unintelligible. User feedback was positive, as well, as those who used the tool said they found it was a helpful way to control what they saw, similar to keyword muting.

In a survey, 27% of those who had their tweets hidden said they would reconsider how they interact with others in the future, Twitter said. That’s not a large majority, but it’s enough to make a dent. However, it’s unclear how representative this survey was. Twitter declined to say how many people used the feature or how many were surveyed about its impacts.

The system will now also ask users who hide replies if they also want to block the account, as a means of clarifying that “hiding” is a different function.

“These are positive and heartening results: the feature helped people have better conversations, and was a useful tool against replies that deterred from the person’s original intent,” explained Twitter in a blog post, shared today. “We’re interested to see if these trends continue, and if new ones emerge, as we expand our test to Japan and the U.S. People in these markets use Twitter in many unique ways, and we’re excited to see how they might use this new tool,” the post read.

Despite the expansion, Twitter says “Hide Replies” is still considered a test as the company is continuing to evaluate the system, and it’s not available to Twitter’s global user base.

The new feature will start rolling out at 2 PM PT in both the U.S. and Japan and will be available across mobile and web clients.


Twitter announced on Monday it will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities. The new rule is a global policy and will be enforced across all of Twitter’s ad business.

“This policy will apply to news media entities that are either financially or editorially controlled by the state,” wrote Twitter on its official company blog. The company said it will be making policy determinations based on media issues, such as, “Control of editorial content, financial ownership, influence or interference over broadcasters, editors, and journalists, direct and indirect exertion of political pressure, and/or control over the production and distribution process.”

The company said the policy does not apply to to state-owned news sites that are solely dedicated to entertainment, sports and travel content — unless, the site includes any news. If so, then it will be prohibited from running ads.

Why we should care

Twitter, along with most other social platforms, has been tightening its political ad policies during the past year as a result of foreign powers misusing social platforms to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other elections around the world.

This latest policy update is a substantial one for state-owned news sites, completely barring them from running ads. Social media marketers who work for state-owned sites will have to rely on organic posts for engagement, and won’t be able to ampliy their messages with promoted tweets.

State-owned sites that focus on entertainment, sports and travel will have to be wary of the news they publish as it may disqualify them from running Twitter ads.

More on the news

  • The new policy does not apply to taxpayer-funded entities, including public broadcasters.
  • Twitter is giving organizations impacted by the rule 30 days to stop running ads, after that, it says it will “Stringently enforce these policies.”
  • The company said it established the new policy with help from academic and civil society organizations, including Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Freedom House, the Economist Intelligence Unit Democracy Index, The European Journalism Centre’s Media Landscapes Report, the Committee to Protect Journalists and UNESCO.

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Twitter is rolling out a new video ad bidding option that allows advertisers to run 15-second or shorter video ads, but only be charged if the ad is viewed for a full six-seconds with pixels at 50% in-view.

Twitter called it a “Flexible option for advertisers who care about the completed view metric, but are ready to lean into the mobile-first paradigm and develop short-form assets optimized for in-feed viewing.”

Why we should care

This new six-second video ad bidding option takes a page from YouTube’s 6-second bumper ads but offers the flexibility of running longer creatives. It should appeal to brands focused on substantive view rates.

“This six-second video ad solution, paired with compelling creative, increased our view rate by over 22%,” said Alice Oliveira, the CSB Brazil marketing director for Dell, who had early access to the video ad bid option.

Short-form videos with the sound-off that included clear branding delivered a significantly better ad recall and message association on mobile compared to linear TV-styled videos, according to a Twitter-sponsored study by EyeSee.

More on the news

  • Twitter is rolling out the new video ad bidding option globally on Monday.
  • It is available for Promoted Video, In-stream Video Sponsorships and In-stream Videos Ads that include assets at 15-seconds or less in length.
  • In April, 2018, Twitter accounted more than half of its ad revenue to video ads. The company reported on Monday that video ad formats continue to be its fastest-growing ad format.

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Twitter announced on Wednesday it will be removing third-party data sources from its ad platform early next year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“Twitter is streamlining the way in which advertisers use audience data and shifting focus to the Twitter Ads API, which ultimately improves outcomes through technological advancement and developmental flexibility for our partners and customers,” a Twitter spokesperson told Marketing Land.

Once the new policy takes affect, advertisers will be required to purchase data on their own and Twitter will still need to approve the data sources used by advertisers.

Why we should care

Marketers on Twitter currently have the option to use third-party data sources offered by the platform, with ad costs for the data bundled into total ad costs. This change in policy means advertisers will have to rely on their own data sources. Twitter VP of Global Client Solutions, Sarah Personette, told the Wall Street Journal most Twitter advertisers are already using their own data to buy ads on the platform.

Twitter says the change is aimed at improving the process. “We want to make sure we’re creating and developing the best possible experience for every advertiser, agency and marketer utilizing the system,” said Personette.

Personette told the Wall Street Journal the new policy is unrelated to data protection efforts, but it comes at a time when data privacy — and legislation — is top of mind for most advertisers. GDPR already in affect and the California Consumer Privacy Act is coming January 1, 2020, right around the same time Twitter plans on removing third-party data sources from its platform.

More on the news

  • On Wednesday, Twitter announced it may have shared user data with its measurement and ad partners without permission from users. “The data involved stayed within Twitter and did not contain things like passwords, email accounts, etc,” wrote Twitter in a blog post on its Help Center.
  • Twitter’s decision to remove third-party data sources from its platform comes more than a year after Facebook removed third-party targeting data.
  • A Twitter spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that its policy requiring advertisers be responsible for the data they use will not change.

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video ads accounted for more than half of its quarterly revenue.

Ad engagement growth versus cost per engagement. Twitter’s total ad engagements for the quarter were up 20% year-over-year, but cost per engagement (CPE) remained flat.

Tracking the two data points over the past ten quarters shows that ad engagement growth rates have declined, while the “drops” in CPE are shrinking. Last quarter, Twitter reported CPEs fell 4% year-over-year and were flat this quarter compared to the previous year. This time last year, Twitter reported a 32% drop in CPE.

mDAUs reached 139 million during the second quarter of 2019 — an increase of five million from the first quarter of this year, and 17 million more than the second quarter of 2018.

In the U.S., mDAUs reached 29 million during the second quarter, which means U.S. users make up just over a fifth of Twitter’s total user base. This number grew by only a million since the first quarter of the year — and 3 million year over year.

Last quarter, Twitter announced it would no longer report monthly active users (MAUs) stats, sharing only on the new monetized daily active user (mDAU) metric itintroduced in February. The move was in part to compensate for the slide in MAU numbers, which Twitter said resulted from its efforts to improve the health of the platform. Twitter defines its mDAUs as authenticated users it is able to show ads to who have accessed Twitter via the app or desktop application.

Why we should care. Twitter has put much of its focus during the past year cleaning up the platform and ridding timelines of malicious activity and spam in an effort to provide a safer environment for brands and advertisers. Many argue those efforts have gone far enough, but it appears to be making an impact on the adveritsing front.

CEO Jack Dorsey said the health of the platform remains the top priority for the company. “Our focus was on ensuring that our rules, and how we enforce them, are easy to understand. We also continued our work to proactively identify and address malicious behavior, resulting in an 18% drop in reports of spammy or suspicious behavior,” said Dorsey.

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