Twitter is testing a new ad unit that gives direct marketers a way to generate leads directly from tweets.
You can see an example of the unit in this tweet promoting Twitter’s small business guide. Not only is there a small image promoting the guide, but if you’re logged in, it also shows a “Get it now” button. When you hit the button, you don’t get asked for a phone number or email address — instead, you get a message saying that “Twitter Advertising will reach out soon.” Presumably, the advertiser will get a list of interested Twitter accounts.
Twitter says this functionality is being delivered through Twitter Cards, the technology that enables additional media and functionality (like embedding a photo or a video) in tweets. It also says this unit is still being tested. So it could change significantly, or it might not ever see a broad rollout at all. This does seem like something that would be pretty appealing to advertisers, since it gives them a new way to get their messages across, as well as to measure the success of their campaigns in a way that’s more meaningful to them than retweets or clickthroughs to a landing page.
Of course, as with any expansion to Twitter advertising, it could also spur some user whinging. For what it’s worth, this sample doesn’t seem particularly obtrusive to me.
I’ve asked Twitter for more details about the test and will update if I hear back.