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Twitter is reportedly beta testing a new feature that will allow local businesses to advertise deals to Twitter users, and then allow users to directly call that business. The social network wants to implement a “click-to-call” button, giving Twitter users the ability to directly engage with a local business. The goal is for Twitter to become a platform that generates leads for local businesses, or direct response advertising.

According to Twitter’s vp of global online sales, Richard Alfonsi, the new feature is focused on “engagement, awareness and capturing events and moments. Direct response is thinking about the lower-funnel conversion-oriented goals.”

Local advertising is traditionally done with fliers or simply by word-of-mouth, but Twitter’s solution would be a more contextually aware platform that might show ads when a certain deal is nearby. Whether you’re a local or on vacation, a click-to-call button would allow users to directly call that shop or restaurant and take advantage of whatever deal they have going on. Twitter’s feature would be in direct competition with solutions already found on services such as Foursquare and Yelp.

The supposed feature isn’t just meant to help local businesses, however. Twitter’s ad rates are supposedly falling, so the company is looking for ways to become the go-to for local and large advertisers. Direct-response ads make up the majority of online ad spending, DigiDay said, which is why the click-to-call feature is being considered. Not just a platform to jot down your thoughts or communicate, Twitter wants you to spend your money. Twitter is typically seen as a place to promote Tweets, trends and accounts, and raise awareness for a certain brand or campaign—not as a local advertising solution.

“It doesn’t change the consumer experience; it makes it more relevant,” Alfonsi said about the emphasis on direct awareness.

Source DigiDay