As you’ll all know by now Twitter launched its new branded pages last week, which in all honesty was well overdue considering how fast Google+ created their brand offering and how far evolved Facebook are with their pages. Twitter had to make their move or get left behind.
We won’t bore you with all the intricate details of the latest updates (those can be found here) but in a nutshell, Twitter have enabled brands to be a little bit more creative with their Twitter accounts. They have incorporated a branded banner across the top of the page and buyers of Promoted Tweets can now have said Tweet embeded in a module at the top of the page, displaying any rich media (e.g. photos & videos) referred to in the promoted tweet.
Here is one of my personal favourites by HP, it pulls through images and videos tweeted by users using the #tag #MyHP.
This is all well and good but there are a number of obstacles that Twitter will have to overcome when trying to convince brands & marketers of the effectiveness of their new business offering.
1. A huge 65% of Twitter traffic comes from third party clients e.g. Tweetdeck, and will not encounter the new brand pages.
2. The majority of interaction with your followers on Twitter happens in the stream, not on your brand page.
3. 55% of all Twitter traffic comes from mobile devices, where brand pages aren’t supported.
I think this new look is how Twitter plan on addressing these issues (by improving the Twitter experience) but for brands and marketers to get the full bang for their buck, a similar experience needs to be enabled across third party clients and it’s mobile site. Without this cross-platform consistency brands are likely to invest their time & money elsewhere e.g. Facebook or Google+.
In addition to the new brand pages, Twitter also made some changes to the structure of the site, which are also incorporated within official third party applications & the mobile site.
It introduced the Home, Connect, Discover & Me buttons. Home, Connect & Me are very much self explanatory and technically previously existed. However Discover is a new and more exciting addition that’s quite similar to Google Sparks but purely based on your Twitter activity e.g. the things you tweet about and the people you follow. The Discover page provides a user with ‘Stories’ of interest in the form of text, images & videos and allows you to view the users tweeting about these topics. Would be great to know what type of algorithm Twitter are using to deliver this but not surprisingly they’ve kept their cards to their chest on this one.
Brands should be paying equal attention to the new Discover feature as they are with the new brand pages. Discover shifts the focus to the content that you’re sharing & emphasises the need for a targeted content strategy, well catered to your customers/followers. Getting this right will ensure that your content is discovered by the right people – those who are more likely to embrace it & willingly follow your Twitter account. If you can capture the attention of these users then brand affinity will improve and so will your engagement levels. In essence this is what brands should be aiming to get out of the new Twitter and social media in general.
Aside from this we weren’t fully overwhelmed by the changes made last week. From our post in September 2010 ‘The New Twitter.com & its implications on Search‘ we were hoping the next update would include some social commerce – enabling users to purchase products directly from a company’s Twitter page. I guess we were being a little optimistic.
So do you think Twitter under-delivered with it’s latest update or are they on the money? Drop your thoughts below.
Here’s a nice short video that demonstrates the new Discover feature. Enjoy!