The long-rumored Twitter Buy button is here—and we actually sorta like it. Today musician Amanda Palmer tweeted out a link to her new book, The Art of Asking, which is on sale through Twitter's new impulse buy option.Those copies of the book sold out quickly, but you can still get an idea of how Twitter plans for well-loved online figures to put its lucrative new feature to good use. The experience of buying something through Twitter is surprisingly smooth—the button quickly whisks you to a payment page and confirms your purchase, shortening the distance from the sudden, burning desire to buy something and a finalized purchase.
As it stands, Twitter relies on ad revenue it rakes in through promoted tweets, which enter the social feed much like Facebook's promoted posts. As Palmer's tweet demonstrates, the Buy button could prove quite well suited to the realtime social network, where fans regularly follow and interact with celebrities and brands, unlike Facebook, where design and philosophical barriers make those same figures feel more at a distance.
Unlike promoted tweets—which still feel abrupt and disruptive—Twitter's Buy button plugs right into existing tweets of folks you'd be following anyway, making the whole thing feel more relevant and less contrived.
As we wrote in September, Twitter is testing the feature with a handful of early partners, so expect to see it popping up more:
"To start off, Twitter has partnered with Fancy, Gumroad, Stripe, and Musictoday as platforms for the service. If you have access to the buy button, you will be able to purchase items from artists, companies, and organizations including Burberry, Home Depot, (RED), DonorsChoose, GLAAD, Demi Lovato, Eminem, Pharrell, Hunter Hayes, Brad Paisley, and Panic! at the Disco."
Twitter's Buy button is poised to be a win/win, both for the company's revenue strategy and for anyone promoting a book, album, or anything else we'd be prone to throw in our cart near the checkout line.
Illustration by Jason Reed