Yesterday, Twitter announced a new layout for desktop which looks remarkably similar to that of Facebook.
The Drum catches up with agencies and analytical companies to discover what they think this will mean.
Javier Burón, founder and CEO, SocialBro
The new profile design is the latest step in the ‘facebookification’ of Twitter and is in line with the news that Twitter is to introduce photo tagging and phase out hashtags. The main objective of this process is to remove artificial barriers and make Twitter more accessible as it seeks to sign up new users.The ability to pin top tweets to the top of your page is good news for social media managers and the option to filter feeds to show only tweets with photos and video underlines the importance of including media in your updates. The new design also gives marketers more opportunities to brand their profile. It will be interesting so see whether these changes are quickly followed by the introduction of more advertising opportunities.Let’s just hope it doesn’t alienate those users who don’t like Facebook...
Jamie Riddell, creator of BirdSong: on demand social analytics
Twitter’s evolution is the same as all search engines over the past 15 years. For search engines, this evolution was to move from providing results that drove people away from their site to providing information and content that kept them on site. Just like all other major search engines and social networks, twitter needs to generate substantial income from advertising. For Twitter these updates all look to be focused around retaining users in the Twitter ecosystem, what we used to call ‘stickiness.’ As headline growth starts to slow, this stickiness will help Twitter focus on generating more value from each user so we’d expect to see more statements about time spent on Twitter replace continued growth statements. These latest developments are clear indications of Twitter’s move towards stickiness. Visually, this latest updates is a firm move away from 140 characters to a more engaging ‘multimedia’ experience that encourages the user to dwell longer on Twitter. The inclusion of Twitter cards and tweets and RT’s in one stream will all help twitter become more of a destination than thoroughfare. For brands this could be detrimental when looking to drive additional traffic or business to their site. As a positive it could leader to greater integration of brand proposition and Twitter mechanics. For consumers these changes will offer an alternative destination from Tumblr or Facebook. The boost of image size and the new header images will provide a greater user experience. For brands this upside is a greater base of engaged user to connect with. On Facebook brand pages, images are the most engaging form of update. Larger images increased engagement so this update from Twitter is a logical extension, providing greater opportunities for brands to connect with their audiences. The increased desire for stickiness may impact brands keen to use Twitter as a springboard for site traffic. More emphasis of ‘on page’ content through greater real estate and embedded content may prove to have a negative impact.
Tim Pritchard, head of social media, Manning Gottlieb OMD
Brands predominantly welcome increased scope to shape and design their online presence and display themselves online in as impactful a way as possible, so from their perspective this is a very positive step. While pinning tweets is nothing new for brands, the additional pinning options make sense given the shift towards greater photo and video consumption on the platform. and While some commentators cite the 'Facebook-esque' design, the profile page could be said to have greater importance on Twitter as the open & public nature of the conversation leads people to see more content from those they don't follow, and consequently checking profiles is a more native behaviour. Though it's users who stand to see the greatest benefit and shift in usage. As they are given more opportunity to shape their presence, we expect them put more time and effort into the platform, using it as their primary public online identity, or so Twitter must hope. All of this comes with the caveat that as these changes are desktop only, while Twitter's usage becomes increasingly mobile, their impact will be limited. It's on mobile where brands are keen to curate more of their presence, surfacing richer content rather than streams of @replies.
Delia Goldsby, director of PR and social, RBH
'Mmmm…. well, it’s probably about time' - that’s what immediately popped into my head on seeing that Twitter had revamped its look. It’s not entirely surprising though given Twitter towers has been teasing us about changing things for a while - ditching the hashtags and @replies being some of the latest rumours bubbling. So whilst they haven’t dispensed with hashtags they have introduced Best Tweets, Pinned and Filtered Tweets and the capability to use BIG images. Initial impressions are they all seem to be funky new features though it seems the Twitter Egg is no more! So in leaving the profile photo blank the default avatar will be a no-photo silhouette.On first take, it’s the Best Tweet function that interests me most. These are the tweets that appear larger and easier to find the more engagement and popularity they gain. From a brand and agency perspective this could be interesting – Best Tweet will be great if the tweet and subsequent twitter buzz is positive. However, if it’s not so positive or unleashes a stream of negative buzz then I can see how Best Tweets might cause a few extra challenges in the PR and reputation management department. As for the Pinned Tweets, those ones that will feature at the top of the profile page, careful thought and consideration will need to be given to them, not least the frequency with which they will be changed. Come the day we can all get to use it I think community managers are going to be even busier….
Ron Peterson, head of social, AKQA
Twitter's new changes to their feed make the platform more visual and more personalised. In a space where Twitter's inherent strengths are those simple, 140 characters that provide each of us an element of 'access', it will be exciting to see how Twitter now focuses and evolves its trending topics, mobile real-time alerts, and other bite-size 'access' aspects of the platform.