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On November 25th, Twitter unveiled the “Offers” Button, their second e-commerce feature release of 2014. The new Offers button lets brands tweet deals to users directly in their Twitter feed.

The first company to test this out was The Barista Bar, offering people $2 cash back when they spend $5 or more. Here’s how it works on the consumer’s end: tap the Offer button in the tweet, enter your information to claim the deal, make your purchase with the same card, and then get a statement credit for the amount of the offer. Offers combines with their previously released “Buy” Button, which lets you make a purchase directly from a tweet.

Twitter Offers

  What does this mean for Twitter, and are there implications in the long run? Five quick thoughts on Twitter’s new Offers and Buy buttons.  1. One time credit card entryThese new buttons mean that Twitter has the ability to charge your credit card on its platform. Once you give Twitter your credit card information, they will store it just like Amazon, Apple or other e-commerce businesses you’re familiar with. The good news for brands and consumers alike – if you see an offer you want, you don’t need to leave Twitter to get it. One tap and you’re done! The offer gets tied to your credit card, and you receive the discount in the future. Simplicity is a big key here. The bad news – impulse buying just got easier. The other bad news is that Twitter hasn’t perfected the process. If I claim an offer, I won’t get the benefit until I make a purchase with the same credit card. What happens if you forget to redeem an offer? Is there a “cart” to go find your offers? It’d be helpful to have a reminder system implemented within Twitter to let you know you have an offer waiting for you.  2. Different types of “engagement” optionsA critical component of Twitter’s future e-commerce success may be that they didn’t just release a Buy button on its own. The combination of Offers and Buy buttons might make these new features work. Offers is meant to serve as the tease that will draw people in - a simple action will provide them with great rewards. But, brands need to present a compelling offer to get people on board. Whether it’s cash back on a purchase, or a great BOGO deal, brands will be the ones to ultimately hook the user. That’s where part two comes in – the Buy button. Once users have entered their credit card information to take advantage of an offer, they might be willing to start buying via Twitter. It will be very easy - their card is stored and if they want a product – it’ll be done and over before they think twice. If this takes off and is widely adopted, your Christmas shopping could be done in five minutes!  3. Audience and timing is importantThe timing of the Buy buttons will be extremely important. You’ll need to hit the right person at the right time to compel them to make a purchase on Twitter. While not yet available on Twitter’s platform, third-party vendors allow brands to retarget people who have viewed a certain product on their website – say a new pair of Nike sneakers. That kind of information lets Nike tweet targeted offers for their products. By catching people who are further down the purchase funnel, the Buy button could be a huge success. Another thing brands will have to look out for is the visibility of their ads. Once a user has seen an offer in their feed, how easy will it be for them to find it again later? If this is supposed to make it easy to buy products, users won’t want to spend time searching for the offer again later. There are ways to find the tweet by liking it, retweeting it, or even following this twitter account, but what if you forget? As mentioned above, the process currently lacks a way to find all selected offers. eBay alerts users when bidding is about to end on a product – Twitter could alert users when an offer is about to expire.  4. Security concernsEvery time I add my credit card to a new site, I slightly panic for a second. It could be just another place for hackers to come and steal it. Stories have been all over the news this past year about cards being stolen, and internet security lacking, so how safe is this really? Big names like eBay, JP Morgan, Home Depot and Target have all been attacked in 2014. And as these cards are being stolen, approximately 60% of them will be sold in underground markets. As new companies like Twitter enter into e-commerce, they’ll be faced with an increasingly untrusting base of consumers, unsure of whether they might get burned by entering their credit card information.  5. Annoying your audienceTwitter is a great platform for people to share what’s going on in the here and now -- a source for news and updates in the world around you. Ads are bound to make a presence in most social platforms, but brands and Twitter need to be careful about overloading users. Experts indicate that to be successful on Twitter, you should be sending out no more than 14 tweets per day.Burberry is a great example of a successful social media brand. They know what content their users want to consume, and they don’t risk annoying their followers. They successfully use organic posts to support their paid efforts, including ads with the new Buy button. If brands have success with the Buy button, there will be many more lining up to try it themselves. I hope Twitter doesn’t scare users away with this new direction – user engagement should take high priority over the ability to make more money.

Twitter Buy Button

So How Will Other Social Platforms Adapt?Twitter may be the first social platform to release these new features, but others will soon follow. In July, Facebook mentioned they were testing a buy button, which should be rolling out in the coming months. Instagram has not released any such features, however, brands are taking advantage of the increasingly popular platform in any way they can. Michael Kors developed a campaign, dubbed #Instakors, that sends their followers an email with a link to the product they “liked” on Instagram. Pinterest developed “Rich Pins” that allows brands to include product details within a pin (including price tags, maps, ratings, etc.), and a link directly to that product on their site. However you cannot yet purchase the product directly through Pinterest. Brands will continue to look for ways to improve and increase their marketing ROI, and social is rapidly moving from a test ground to a business channel. If Twitter’s new buttons prove successful, you can bet there will be even more ways for brands to make a sale in the future. What are your thoughts? How successful do you think these new features will be? Let us know below!