By Alicia Barreto Jaime

Advertising through social media is quite common these days. Call to action buttons are gaining more and more popularity through mobile devices and advertisers looking to engage with consumers.

Twitter and Instagram are a clear example of this relatively new advertising scheme.

Last month, Andrew Bragdon, Revenue Product Manager at Twitter, announced that their platform is introducing conversational ads through a personalized blog post.

This occurs when you see a promoted tweet that belongs to, say, a coffee brand. The brand asks “which coffee blend do you prefer: our #Houseblend or our #DarkRoast,” and then, at the bottom of the screen, users can see two buttons, which correspond to each hashtag. When the user selects any of those, a pre-populated brand message is ready to tweet.

“Each shared tweet is powerful because it drives earned media for the brand at no extra cost, resulting in higher ROI,” Bragdon explained in his post.

As for Instagram, new features for ads were tested last year, which included call to action buttons like “shop now” and “install now.” The sponsored posts on this platform are already around, and it’s very likely that they will get updates as those buttons are introduced.

Around eight months ago, a post on the Instagram for Business blog stated: “people come to Instagram to follow their passions, from travel and fashion to cars and entertainment. They want to see ads that reflect the things they care about.”

Really? Do people want ads on social media, in the first place?

The business side of social media should focus more on how to catch the attention of users by providing spaces for smart advertising. Call to action buttons are certainly an interesting solution to attract them, but let’s not assume that users are patiently waiting for ads to pop-up on their timelines.

Smart advertising on social media may occur under the following circumstances:

  • When the ad manages to not feel invasive
  • When the call to action of the ad doesn’t sound needy
  • When the ad uses first person in its message
  • When different approaches of an ad are tested

Instagram has an advantage for relying on visual content; on the other hand, Twitter is maximizing the use of hashtags to draw users into conversations.

One advertising scheme is finally considering the conversational aspect. That’s good news.

How should brands use the call to action buttons?

Alicia studies journalism at SAIT Polytechnic and also blogs about creativity, art and life in general.

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