Twitter’s New Buy Button Is Key to Its Mobile Commerce Future

Home Depot, Pharrell, Red test new feature

Twitter unveils a social shopping button today that lets marketers drive conversions straight from tweets, after months of speculation that such a feature was in the works.

The new offering appears in Twitter’s iPhone and Android apps and represents the company's latest bid to reel in mobile spend from direct response-heavy advertisers.

About 25 brands (including Burberry and Home Depot), musicians and nonprofits are among the beta partners that will begin testing the feature in the next few weeks. Clicking on a "Buy" button on tweets will pull up a landing page where consumers can type in shipping and payment information to complete a transaction.

Musicians in particular are a big focus in the test, likely because of their significant Twitter followings. For example, beta partner Demi Lovato has amassed 24.3 million followers while 18.7 million follow Eminem. Other participating musicians include Pharrell Williams, Brad Paisley, Wiz Khalifa, Hunter Hayes and Kiesza. Using the new commerce-enabled feature, they'll be able to sell concert tickets, merchandise or albums from the social platform.

Red and The Nature Conservatory are among the nonprofits testing the new commerce features. The social shopping is powered by e-commerce players Stripe, Fancy, Gumroad and Musictoday.

The buy button positions Twitter as an appealing marketing platform for direct response brands that rely on conversions and performance-driven goals. Earlier this year, Twitter started offering marketers new tools—including app installs, click-to-call and email signups—to drive lower-funnel goals.

Brands like Amazon, Starbucks and Coca-Cola have also experimented with hashtag-triggered commerce on the platform. Earlier this year, Amazon and Twitter teamed up on the #AmazonCart program that lets consumers add Amazon products mentioned in tweets straight to shopping carts.

Twitter brought in $277 million in ad revenue during the second quarter of this year.