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Twitter tests click-to-call button in sponsored ads

Twitter is apparently exploring the possibility of including a click-to-call button in sponsored tweets that will allow you to do just that – speak to someone in connection with the ad.

It’s known as direct response advertising, and Richard Alfonsi, Twitter’s VP of global online sales, is looking at incorporating it into the app as a way to “generate leads, drive app downloads, collect consumers’ email addresses and induce incoming calls from customers,” media firm Digiday reported Tuesday.

The micro-blogging site’s ad-focused click-to-call button is currently being beta tested, though Alfonso gave no indication as to how long the testing will last or when the button might be rolled out on a wider scale. A number of services, including Google Maps and Yelp, already include such a feature.

According to Digiday, the move could help Twitter exploit local ad markets, with, for example, restaurants advertising special deals aimed at nearby Twitter users who, if interested, can call quickly and easily via the app to reserve a table.

The social media site is exploring a number of ways in which it can make its service more attractive to advertisers while avoiding the possibility of annoying its user base with too many intrusive sponsored messages and the like in feeds.

We recently learned that the San Francisco-based company’s ad rates dropped in the final three months of last year, marking the seventh straight quarter of such declines. However, Twitter is actually pulling in an increasing amount of revenue from ads because more users are engaging with them by clicking on links, or by retweeting or favoriting them.

But as a recent financial report from the company pointed out, the decreasing ad rates are a cause for concern.

“In the event that cost per ad engagement continues to decline, and we are unable to continue to offset the impact of such decreases on advertising revenue by increasing the number of ad engagements, our advertising revenue would decline,” Twitter said in the report.

As further evidence of the company’s determination to increase revenue via advertising, it was revealed this week that Twitter has hired former YouTube executive Baljeet Singh to bolster the presence of videos on the site and to exploit related ad opportunities.

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