As some companies attempt to transform hashtags, the keywords and phrases that make content searchable on Twitter and Facebook, into a trigger for a payment, Chirpify aims to let the tags live a double life through its new actiontag system.
For example, the recent Smartyplants product launch event in New York used the #smartyplants hashtag to promote itself on Twitter. Through Chirpify, the #smartyplants hashtag could be paired with a #donate tag to raise funds for charity while anyone who just wanted to tweet about Smartyplants could use the #smartyplants hashtag by itself without the fear of triggering a payment.
"While hashtags provide a means for grouping messages or adding metadata, actiontags reflect the specific actions that consumers want to take on an advertising or marketing campaign," says Chris Teso, founder and CEO of Chirpify. "Hashtags have become the ubiquitous 'glue' that connects cross-channel campaigns and social conversations."
This system can tie a payments function to an existing hashtag or marketing campaign. Fans of Smarty Plants, a line of skin care products, could tweet about them on their own, and anyone who clicks the #smartyplants hashtag in their tweets would then see other tweets with prompts to make payment. The Smartyplants launch event raised money for charity: water, and anyone tweeting #donate, #smartyplants and a dollar amount would initiate a donation to the nonprofit.
Chirpify's actiontags support terms such as #buy, #donate, #subscribe and #vote. These actiontags can be slipped into TV shows and commercials; broadcasted during live events and on the radio; and posted on billboards or in other advertising material.
Actiontags work on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Portland, Ore.-based, Chirpify launched a direct payment processing option in June. Before this, the company relied on PayPal's service. Chirpify also collects data about existing and potential customers for brands.
Chirpify is one of the few payments companies that has survived at facilitating payments over Twitter. Several years ago TwitPay and Twippr launched to further commerce on Twitter, but the companies either shut down or abandoned their models. More recent efforts, such as Ribbon, faced direct opposition for Twitter over whether they adhere to the social network's terms of service.
Chirpify has been quite aggressive expanding its social media payments platform, with clients like Snoop Dogg and Lil Wayne. Hundreds of brands have listed more than 10,000 offers and products since the company's February 2012 launch. Chirpify touts adding more than 300 new consumer users daily with a 4% conversion rate in-stream.
MasterCard Inc., Forever 21 and NPR's Live Wire are using Chirpify's platform for campaigns.