This is... interesting.
After adding the capacity for users to limit who can reply to their tweets last August, Twitter is now extending the same to promoted tweets, so that brands can limit who is able to reply to their ads.
We’re making it easier for brands to control the conversations they start on Twitter.— Twitter Business (@TwitterBusiness) March 9, 2021
Introducing Conversation Settings for Ads:
As you can see here, now, within the Twitter ads creation flow, you'll have the option to choose who can replay to your promoted tweet via a new dropdown menu. As with Twitter's regular conversation controls, advertisers will be able to leave it as the default, which will mean that anyone can reply, or they'll be able to select “People you follow” or “Only people you mention”, restricting who can respond.
Why might you want to limit who can respond to your promoted tweet?
The main impetus for conversation controls in regular tweets is to stop trolls from commenting, or to limit the conversation for, say, an interview or more intimate discussion. Those same reasons could theoretically apply to promoted tweets - you could avoid potential critical replies by limiting who can respond, or you could effectively promote an interview stemming from your initial promoted tweet by mentioning the interviewee and limiting who can respond.
That could be a good way to add more context to a promotion - while there will also be various other ways in which brands will be able to prompt interaction and engagement by limiting who can respond to their promotions.
Maybe you could offer a discount to specified Twitter handles mentioned in the tweet, or you could make a special offer to anyone who's replies to the tweet - but in order to reply, they'll need to follow your handle (and you can then follow them back).
The option opens up a range of potential creative ideas, and it'll be interesting to see how brands look to utilize this capacity in their promoted tweets.
Definitely, the capability to limit replies has proven popular for regular users - Twitter says that since launch, 11 million people have applied conversation settings to 70 million conversations.
It could well present some new opportunities. Time to get thinking.
You can read more about Twitter's audience controls for promoted tweets here.