Twitter debuts user-focused campaign

The social media platform is promoting two spots intended to draw new users and help existing ones get more out of it.

Twitter Canada has begun running a social campaign aimed at attracting new users and educating existing ones about how to enhance their experience on the platform.

The campaign includes two spots, both developed in-house and featuring the British comedian Romesh Ranganathan. One is focused on informing potential users about the Twitter onboarding process, the other on getting the most out of Twitter for those who have an account.

The effort is exclusive to the U.K., the U.S. and Canada, where the ads began being promoted on Wednesday. It’s the first time the social media platform has focused explicitly on the product experience.

In the onboarding commercial, a man named “Kenny G.” has holed himself up inside his home. Police have surrounded the house and brought on Ranganathan to assist, as concerned neighbours have gathered outside. In a witty exchange, the comedian-turned-negotiator talks Kenny through the Twitter onboarding process to avert the crisis. The version of the ad running in Canada and the U.S. features NBA star Lonzo Ball, who is left out of the U.K. version, as he is more relevant to audiences in North America.

The other ad features Ranganathan helping a man find relevant content and people to follow using the Twitter’s “Explore” feature, while riding a self-balancing scooter. The more people he follows, the more his own following grows.

The company understands that joining a new platform can be intimidating for some people, says Laura Pearce, head of consumer marketing at Twitter Canada, so it wanted to bring some “levity” to the onboarding experience, and selected Ranganathan because his popularity is “interchangeable from a multi-country perspective.” For those already on the platform, she says, Twitter was looking to educate them on how to get the most out of it.

“We’re really looking at a top-level perception shift goal,” Pearce says. “If there was a perception that Twitter may be harder to use than other social platforms, we’re looking to dispel those perceptions through viewing of the videos and demystifying the Twitter experience.”

She says Twitter is also hoping people will stop and view the entire films, which are rather long for social content, running at over a minute each.

Both ads have been shared on the platform, although the onboarding commercial is not being as heavily promoted, due to the nature of the film.

On Dec. 26, the company will begin promoting them on YouTube, because Twitter sees a large uptick in downloads between Christmas and the New Year, when people are exploring new apps on their newly acquired devices, says Pearce. Vizeum will oversee media buying and planning.

Last month, the company aired its first TV advertisement designed to increase brand awareness and platform usage.