Twitter’s latest ad format turns Periscope hearts into branded ones

Twitter is ramping up the revenue options for its live-streaming app, Periscope. A couple of weeks after inserting ads before some Periscope videos, Twitter is introducing an ad format that can appear atop a live or recorded Periscope broadcast, the company announced on Monday.

Called Custom Hearts, the new ad format takes the standard hearts that appears on-screen when people like a Periscope video and mixes in branded ones. For viewers, there’s no action required to use a Custom Heart. If the brand and/or person posting the live stream has activated the campaign, then the branded hearts will be automatically blended with the regular hearts that appear when a viewer likes the video.

To buy a Custom Heart campaign, brands will need to contact Twitter’s sales team and will be charged a flat fee, according to a Twitter spokesperson. That’s similar to the way Twitter has been selling the sponsored emoji ads it introduced last year. The direct-only sales strategy can help to ensure that Periscope streams don’t become overrun with branded hearts and that the branded hearts aren’t objectionable, as TechCrunch discussed in an article posted earlier today.

After arranging the Custom Heart campaign with Twitter’s sales team, a brand can attach the campaign to its own Periscope video or to one posted by a publisher or individual creator. For example, a brand that has hired a celebrity as the spokesperson for a new product can have have its Custom Hearts appear in that celebrity’s Periscope broadcast. To activate the campaign — on the brand’s own video or the celebrity’s — the video’s title must include a specific hashtag dedicated to the campaign.

The first brand to buy a Custom Heart campaign, NBCUniversal, used the format to promote its upcoming “The Fate of the Furious” film by having F8-branded hearts appear in a live stream of the movie’s premiere.

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