Carousel ads have proven to be a popular option, with Facebook reporting that their carousel ad units drive up to 10x more click-throughs than static posts. Because of their success, Facebook also introduced carousel ads to Instagram, where, according to internal data, they generate a 2.5 point increase in ad recall, on average, over single image ads.
Those are pretty good numbers, enough to inspire Twitter to try and get in on the action also.
In an announcement on their official blog, Twitter has unveiled their own carousel ad units, which are currently in testing phase.
As per the post:
"The new Promoted Tweet Carousel allows advertisers to curate multiple Tweets within a single swipeable ad unit to tell a rich and compelling story. Advertisers can leverage Tweets with videos, images, or text from their own Twitter account. Marketers can also combine content from Niche creators with content from other people on Twitter who have granted the advertiser permission to use their Tweet."
Twitter's been testing the ad units amongst a small set of managed accounts, including Disney (above), Volvo and Gatorade. As you can see in the above example, Disney's used tweets from their own handle as well as from a variety of influencers, including actors from the upcoming movie 'The BFG'.
It's an interesting option, though it seems somewhat less effective than the carousel units offered on Facebook and Instagram (which recently added video to its carousel offering). This is more because of the restriction of tweets - on the other platforms, you have control over the elements, whether they be images or video. On Twitter, the content's confined within existing tweets, which doesn't look as impressive. Though, that said, it does increase the opportunity for creativity and storytelling - this example from Volvo shows how you can use the option to highlight a range of different features within the one Promoted tweet.
According to Marketing Land advertisers will be able to include up to 20 tweets in a carousel, though Twitter says that five to seven is the sweet spot.
And aside from their own tweet content, brands will also be able to use tweets from anyone, including regular people, if they get permission to do so. That said, Twitter has no mechanism in place to verify that permission has been given, but they'll take down ads if a violation is reported.
Twitter's experimented with carousel format ads before, with an app install ad option using similar format, though those ads never seemed to get much traction. Twitter will be hoping that this new unit is more in line with evolving user preferences.
Twitter's ad revenue came in lower than expected last quarter, which Twitter said could be attributed to "slower than expected growth in brand advertising spend". As with all aspects of the company, they're looking to turn the ship around, adding in new options and tools to boost engagement and ad spend. Whether carousel ads will have any significant impact in this regard is hard to say, though it seems unlikely they'll gain any major traction.
But then again, everything helps - if they can get some good, creative examples out in the market and show tht there's value in the new option, it could add something new to the Twitter marketing mix.