Last year, Twitter announced it would begin testing a revolutionary method for consumers to discover and purchase products using the social media platform. Only a small percentage of users in the United States would see a Buy button appearing on some tweets, presenting users with the ability to purchase directly from those tweets. The company reported that the number of users seeing the Buy button would grow over time.

By introducing the Buy button, Twitter took the first step in what the company reported was a move toward building functionality into the social media platform in order to make it easier and more convenient for consumers to shop from their mobile devices. Through the access to merchandise and offers unavailable elsewhere, users would be presented with the opportunity to act on those offers instantly while in Twitter apps for iOS and Android. At the same time, marketers would be able to take advantage of a new method for building direct relationships with consumers.

Since the release of the Buy button, everyone from event marketers to retailers recognize the potential offered by Twitter’s latest marketing tool. This has proven to be particularly true for marketers interested in targeting specific consumers with the use of geo-located advertisements for driving impulse purchases.

Twitter’s Competition Wading into Ecommerce

Twitter is certainly not alone in launching buy now buttons. Other social media sites, including Facebook and Pinterest have also launched their own features designed to encourage consumers to make purchases without leaving the site. Twitter has been quick to point out that their Buy button is markedly different from that of other sites in that it is designed to allow consumers to make purchases in real time.

When the feature was first released, Twitter announced it was rolling out the service to only two brands, Home Depot and Burberry, along with approximately two dozen non-profit organizations, as well as numerous music artists.

Understanding How Twitter’s Buy Now Button Works

The way the Buy Now button from Twitter works is fairly straightforward. Users see the button appear in tweets and can opt to click the button to be directed to a page where they can view additional information regarding that product. From that page, users will also be given the chance to enter their shipping information. After that, users are then taken to a page where they will enter billing information. The sale is then concluded and the order completed.

Designing an Effective Campaign Around Buy Now Buttons

Although the process of making a purchase is fairly straightforward for consumers, the process of understanding the best way to leverage the availability of the Buy now button is a bit more complex for marketers. One of the most important factors that marketers must keep in mind when contemplating embedding Twitter’s Buy now button into their tweets is that they will essentially be interrupting a user’s feed with a marketing offer.

To be certain, followers maintain complete control regarding whether they wish to actually click on the button. Even so, it is incumbent upon marketers to ensure that any offers they make are highly relevant to the tweet to which the offer is attached. In order for Buy now buttons on social media to be effective and drive sales, they cannot be simply included in a tweet as a last-minute thought.

It appears that the largest areas of opportunities for marketers to leverage Twitter’s Buy Now button will be during live events, and possibly travel. The key is to catch consumers during moments when they are most likely to make impulse purchases. This means carefully thinking through the creation of tweets with an entirely new approach. It also means thinking even more about the optimal time to post tweets in which the Buy Now button is embedded in order to drive purchases. For instance, consumers may be far less likely to click on the Buy Now button in a tweet sent out during the early morning rush hour. But a tweet sent out on Friday afternoon with a link to purchase tickets for an event to be held over the weekend might drive far more sales.

When it comes to using the Buy Now button to promote live events, marketers should take into account the location of the users and the various activities during the event, in order to drive the highest level of engagement and interest. When designing a campaign to include a Buy Now button for live events, it is important to build momentum prior to the event to drive interest. Once the event is concluded, marketers will typically lose the opportunity to make a sale, so it is important to take advantage of the chance to make a strong impression with followers while they are in the moment.

Marketers may also find it beneficial to post multiple tweets during an event. This is particularly important during a popular event. Avoid repeating the same material over and over. Instead search for something new to comment on about the event that is likely to catch your users’ attention.

With an increasing number of social media sites vying to see who can drive more e-commerce with their unique take on Buy Now buttons, it remains to be seen which company will eventually emerge as the victor. Currently, features such as the Buy Now button from Twitter make it possible for brands to leverage the relationships they have built with customers on social media and convert those followers into prospective paying customers.