Why Marketers Like YouTube and E! Are Embracing Twitter Moments

'There's a lot of room for experimentation'

Brands have been test driving a new tool to get their message to the masses in a scrapbook-like format from Twitter called Moments.

When it first launched in October 2015, Twitter curated the day's big tweets, or Moments, for users via the web; if brands wanted to cull their own, they had to pay. But since this past fall, the tool has been open and free to everyone on mobile, and marketers are diving in. Lime-A-Rita used the feature as a recipe roundup for its margarita-flavored malt beverage; Old Spice collaborated with Denver Broncos star linebacker Von Miller on Moments dubbed "Live Von Air"; and early last month, E!'s hit show The Royals pulled tweets containing GIFs, images and quotes into a Moment as a recap for fans ahead of its Season 3 premiere.

"We're always looking for innovative ways to engage and bring value to our fans," said Jen Neal, evp, marketing at E! Entertainment and Esquire Network. "There is a lot of room for experimentation with this tool." The network also summoned Moments for its most popular show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Steve Babcock, CCO at digital agency VaynerMedia, which has created Moments for E! and other clients, added, "You can curate fan reaction to other social campaigns in a Moment, but it's not [just] another place to copy and paste your assets. It has to be worth being packaged together. Otherwise, what's the benefit to a viewer?"

Even Twitter competitor YouTube has employed Moments, promoting its YouTube Red series called Escape the Night. The digital video behemoth created a choose-your-own-adventure version of Moments for the new mystery series that stars Joey Graceffa—who tweeted out the campaign. Engagement rates for the Moment were more than two times better than its promoted Twitter trend—which cost well over $100,000—with the same content, according to YouTube.

 

Rebecca Lieb, a digital media and marketing analyst, pointed out that Moments is as easy an add-on as it's inexpensive to produce. "Twitter Moments just leverages what Twitter is already about, which is real-time marketing," she noted.

Publishers like Newsweek are also getting into the act. "I wish people used them more," remarked Margarita Noriega, Newsweek's executive editor, who recently produced a Moment on what happens when President-elect Donald Trump attacks journalists online by publishing his combative tweets.

"We're a small newsroom, so it's difficult for us to prioritize nontraffic driving social Moments above our own reporting. If we had more resources, we'd probably use it every day," Noriega said. "Many newsrooms are missing an opportunity to engage on topics that trend in real time, serve audiences and look great."

With similar formats on Facebook and Instagram, Twitter Moments could end up being key to a well-rounded social strategy, industry players said, as long as they are carefully curated for the user. "For brands with a robust Twitter presence, the time and cost can be minimal to gain a better understanding of how users respond to a richer storytelling format," said Noah Mallin, head of social at MEC Wavemaker.

With Twitter's recent struggles to grow advertising revenue and its user base, which hovers at 317 million followers, analysts say Moments may be an important driver in attracting eyeballs. And Twitter is banking on it. "The best Moments tell a story," said Andrew Fitzgerald, who leads Twitter Moments' curation team. "The more you use Moments as a storytelling tool, the more powerful your Moment will be."

This story first appeared in the January 2, 2017 issue of Adweek magazine.
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