Twitter Extended Its In-Stream Partnership Offerings With Sponsored Moments

Bank of America broke in feature with Bloomberg's Davos coverage

Twitter Sponsored Moments start off with branded covers Bank of America/Bloomberg Media/Twitter

It’s been an up-and-down ride for Twitter’s Moments feature since its introduction in October 2015, but the social network’s latest ad product offering appears to indicate that it believes Moments are on their way back up.

Twitter introduced a new in-stream sponsorship option last week, Sponsored Moments, that lets advertisers sponsor Moments from select premium content partners. It debuted the new custom ad feature with Bank of America backing Bloomberg Media’s coverage of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

After a few years lost at sea, Moments looks to be coming ashore. Not too long after the company introduced Moments, it added Promoted Moments (Moments that are created by brands), and after some initial momentum, Twitter realized there wasn’t much demand for Moments. According to Beena Kalaiya, Mindshare North America’s social practice lead, that lack of demand was mainly due to the amount of time it took to create the unit and the premium pricing attached to it. After about a year, Moments became an organic post option, but not enough brands leveraged it.

Will Moments work as an ad offering this time around? Kalaiya thinks so.

“With a positive perception of the platform, combined with newer content offerings [particularly things like Twitter Live, etc.], there is much more interest from brands in creating a more impactful presence on the platform,” Kalaiya said. “Twitter has seen tremendous success with preroll ad units, and these Sponsored Moments full-screen ad formats are definitely worth testing for brands. In addition, since these in-stream ads in Twitter Moments will run in curated content, that’s helpful for brand safety, as well.”

Twitter would not provide details on pricing, other that to say it varies based on the client, the event, the industry and the audience targeted. The social network added that it currently handles the sales for Sponsored Moments, but each sponsorship is different.

Sources, however, said Twitter is charging $50,000-$100,000 for a Sponsored Moment, with a 70-30 revenue-sharing split (publishers getting 70 percent to Twitter’s 30 percent).

Twitter said in a blog post introducing Sponsored Moments that the feature is an extension of in-stream partnerships in which brands and publishers are paired on a one-to-one basis, and the goal “is tight alignment between advertiser messaging and partner content.”

Bloomberg Media global chief revenue officer Keith Grossman discussed how the Davos Sponsored Moment came about, saying the World Economic Forum “is an event that Bloomberg has always covered heavily,” and adding that Twitter initially proposed the idea.

“Bank of America challenged Twitter and Bloomberg Media to come up with a unique, never-been-done-before experience to help bring their partnership with us surrounding Davos to life,” Grossman said. “We have been working with both Bank of America and Twitter for years now, so we have grown accustomed to the needs, expectations and capabilities of each of the constituencies involved.”

He added, “Twitter is a key platform for us, and Moments allowed us to package our Davos coverage into an easily digestible narrative for our followers.”

Bank of America would not comment, but its chief marketing officer, Meredith Verdone, said in the Twitter blog post, “We know that decision-makers and influencers are turning to Twitter to keep up with what’s happening at Davos. Sponsored Moments gives us a great new way to seamlessly join that conversation as it is happening. Working with Bloomberg and Twitter helps us bring high-quality, relevant content to an engaged global audience. We’re excited to debut Moments as a key part of our #WEF programming.”

All types of media—tweets, photos, videos and GIFs—can be included in Sponsored Moments, which start with branded covers, and they can be promoted to specific target audiences, expanding their potential reach beyond content partners’ followers. Tweets from the sponsoring brand are also included within Sponsored Moments.

Twitter would not share data on how many people have been accessing Moments, only saying the feature has “seen very strong growth” and pointing to a tweet from the Twitter Moments account last August, which stated that 60 percent of people using the feature are under 25, and 84 percent are under 35.

One source said Sponsored Moments “are not a gigantic thing but seems to be a template to scale up to get brands to partner with Twitter.” But the question remains, as ever with Twitter: Will brands ultimately care? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.