Twitter, under new CEO Jack Dorsey, is steaming ahead with a slew of new product announcements and improvements to its timeline and other features. In the two months since being confirmed as the permanent CEO, the changes are there to see and all seem geared towards addressing two of the main concerns the company faces—attracting and retaining consumers and creating more value for advertisers.
Though most of these changes are directed towards improving user experience, Dorsey and team are also paying attention to increasing revenues by making advertising easier and more interesting for brands. One landmark step was announced just last week and could go a long way in allaying investor fears.
Last week, the microblogging website stated that it is piloting a new advertising tool that will allow marketers to reach users even if they are logged out of Twitter. The move, says Twitter, will allow advertisers to reach an additional 500 million users who visit Twitter every month but do not log on. This includes people who click on links to tweets in Google search, who will now be able to consume branded, promoted content alongside organic tweets.
Initially this test will support campaigns driving website clicks or conversions, or video views. To start, these Promoted Tweets and Videos will appear on profile pages and Tweet detail pages on desktop web only. Twitter further said that the pilot is currently available in the US, UK, Japan and Australia with more geographies to be added later.
“By letting marketers scale their campaigns and tap into the total Twitter audience, they will be able to speak to more people in new places using the same targeting, ad creative, and measurement tools. Marketers can now maximize the opportunities they have to connect with that audience,” wrote Twitter Revenue Product Manager Deepak Rao in a blog post.
And this is hardly the only area in which new developments have been announced in recent weeks.
Twitter has long identified video as a strategic investment for the future and under Dorsey, this message seems to be put across even more strongly. One of the first things that Twitter did after the appointment of Dorsey was to host a series of events called #VideoNOW, which outlined the things Twitter is doing around video. It was an enlightening glimpse into what to expect from the company.
What Dorsey needs to do to be the next Jobs...
Consumers crave mobile video. Video views on Twitter have increased by 150x in the past year, and 90 per cent of these views happen on a mobile device, said Twitter. New features include allowing advertisers to run pre-roll ads at scale on premium live video content, improvements to Periscope and the new Twitter Moments tool for live streaming.
The famous 140 character limit has also been relaxed, for Direct Messages as of now. More tellingly, just last week, Twitter said that it is testing a new way of showing tweets on the timeline. The new interface will show tweets as per relevance and not the reverse chronological order currently employed. If this catches on, it will make Twitter’s timeline resemble Facebook even more, though whether users will find this interesting or irritating remains to be seen.
Dear @Twitter. You are not Facebook. You are a real time news and communication platform. Emphasis on time. Time is chronological.
— Tim V (@sirencio) December 8, 2015
Efforts on improving rich media experience are not just limited to videos. On December 7, the company announced changes to the way photos are shown on the timeline. “We’re making twitter.com timeline more immersive by uncropping photos, so you can experience and present them as they were meant to be viewed,” wrote Akarshan Kumar, Product Manager on the Official Twitter Blog.
This follows from other improvements made over the year in rich media presentation with the launch of visual media-focused “Moments” and autoplaying videos.
With more product announcements expected in coming months, especially for tools like Persicope and Vine, Twitter seems set to challenge the likes of Facebook for social media dominance.