Twitter’s Fleets Get Stories-Like Ads

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Twitter said Tuesday it will begin adding full-screen ads to Fleets, the disappearing tweets that line the top of users’ mobile Twitter interface. Launched last November, the Fleet format, a clone of Instagram and Snap’s Stories, has apparently been so successful that Twitter is now looking to monetize it.

“Fleet ads are full-screen billboards for advertisers,” Twitter senior product manager Justin Hoang and global product marketing manager Austin Evers wrote in a post announcing the ads. It partners with a “handful” of advertisers in what it calls an “experiment”, making its Fleet ads visible to a limited group of US users on iOS and Android.

The ads support images and video in 9:16 and videos can be up to 30 seconds long. Brands can choose to add a swipe-up call-to-action and access standard Twitter ad metrics, including impressions, profile visits, clicks, website visits, and other information.

Example of a Fleet ad from Wendy’s.
Image: Twitter

in April, Twitter reported that ad revenue grew 32 percent year over year to $899 million, and total ad engagement increased 11 percent. Expanding its ads beyond users’ timelines, where people can easily scroll past without getting involved, seems like the logical next step. Instagram has finally had ads in his stories since 2017 and started putting ads in its TikTok clone reels last month.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said during the Q1 interview with analysts in April that the company was still learning about who uses Fleets. “We started this product not to build a storage product within Twitter, but to solve the problem of people not wanting to tweet because they seem to stay too long,” he said, adding “we definitely have another public than we usually see, but we still have a lot to learn and a lot to figure out in terms of like, where it goes from here.”

Twitter plans to closely examine how full-screen vertical ads perform, not just for Fleet ads, but also for possible future iterations of other full-screen formats, Hoang and Evers said.

“We also believe that ads should be non-intrusive and add value to people, so we’re focused on learning more about how people feel about and interact with this new placement,” the blog post states, adding that the company plans to launch more fleet updates for stickers and backgrounds soon.

Twitter announced new features this spring, updated its warnings for potentially offensive tweets, improved its photo cropping algorithm to allow for “larger” images, added the ability for Android users to search their direct messages, and a Tip Jar. function to be rolled out for donations.

Twitter has also acquired Scroll, the $5-a-month subscription service that removes ads from participating websites. And the long-awaited paid subscription service Twitter Blue may be coming soon, too.