Twitter’s Visual Redesign: Implications & Opportunities for Brands

On April 8th, a small group of Twitter users saw a new profile design that looked very similar to Facebook.  Now, Twitter has announced that it will roll out the new features to all users within the next few weeks. Twitter’s purpose is to enable users to express themselves in an easier, more engaging way: ScreenHunter_01 Apr. 14 15.29 While the redesign is certainly an attempt to grow Twitter’s user base, it could hold positive and negative implications for advertisers. New Features

  • Profile & Header Image: The current Twitter profile picture (73 x 73 pixels) and header photo (520 x 260 pixels) are small in dimension as compared to other social platforms.  Now, Twitter is increasing the header dimensions to take up the whole top of the profile page.  Twitter is also boosting its profile picture size.
  • Tagging Photos: Twitter users can now tag their friends in photos.  Users can tag up to 10 people in a photo while still having 140 characters.  In addition, up to 4 photos can be uploaded per tweet (the prior limit was 1).
  • Best Tweets: A new feature where tweets receiving more engagement will appear on a user’s profile page in bigger font, making them more visible
  • Pinned Tweets: A specific tweet can be “pinned” at the top of each user’s profile page so that followers can see what’s most important to the owner of the profile
  • Filtered Tweets: Users now have the control to choose which timeline to view when checking out other profiles.  Filters include: tweets, tweets with photos/videos, or tweets and replies.

IMPLICATIONS for BRANDS Advertisers can benefit from Twitter’s redesign in multiple ways:

  1. Profile Definition:  Prior to the redesign, it was difficult for brands to really stand out with their Profile Pages due to header and profile image size limitations.  Now, increased image sizes give advertisers more opportunity to define their brands in visually appealing ways.
  2. Pinned Tweets:  Pinned Tweets make it easier for brands to communicate what’s important at that moment to their followers.  For instance, brands can pin a specific tweet at the top of their profile page so users don’t have to sift through a list of tweets.
  3. Best Tweets:  Best Tweets offer advertisers increased visibility opportunities for information such as on-going sales or important updates. The more engagement the tweet receives, the more visible the tweet becomes.
  4. Participation: The redesign also further encourages participation as followers can now click through multiple photos on one post and click to play videos.  Twitter is thus becoming an even more interactive platform.

Recommendations The redesign is changing the way brands interact with their followers on Twitter (and will pose challenges for brands with very little rich content).  As Twitter moves to become more visually engaging in the upcoming weeks, we recommend that brands:

  • Gather Visually Rich Creative Assets:  Advertisers not prepared for the layout changes put themselves at risk of losing to brands with more engaging rich media
  • Take a Performance Approach to Content:  Understand what your followers want in terms of imagery and video and create it—even on-the-fly—to drive engagement
  • Focus on Participation:  The more relevant the tweet, the more interaction it will receive; and increased participation will now increase visibility
  • Monitor Performance: Compare performance pre- and post-redesign to see if you’re properly taking advantage of the new features.  Twitter is now going to look a lot like Facebook and Google+.  While this is good for the consistency of social, it could be bad for the unique character of Twitter; thus, it’s possible that engagement could decrease.

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