Twitter’s new look is rolling out more widely today, and it has some users saying it looks similar to Facebook. The messaging service is making changes to solve its most pressing issue—how to obtain and keep new users—as it looks to grow.
Twitter has been evolving as a media, advertising and social platform, but the big criticism leveled at the company—and which Twitter executives acknowledge—is that it needs to connect with everyday Internet users, not just nerds who get hashtags.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said on Stephen Colbert’s show just last week that he never thought insider jargon like the pound sign would catch on. Becoming mainstream meant teaching sometimes non-tech-savvy users how to communicate in 140 characters or less.
The redesign advances part of Twitter’s game plan to relate more widely beyond its 240 million monthly users to try to catch Facebook and its more than 1.2 billion base.
Now, the platform is more “media forward,” with video and photos larger and displaying right in the user feed. User profile pages look like Facebook’s timeline page, and more changes have been spotted that could eventually simplify the language of Twitter.
Here’s a look at the redesign and other changes that Twitter is making for advertisers and users:
Now it comes with a Facebook style large photo at the top and a profile picture inset.
Tweets with more engagement appear larger than ones with less engagement, giving brands—and people, of course—an opportunity to stand out if their tweets connect.
Users can choose their favorite tweet to appear at the top of their profile feed.
Twitter’s Amplify program has allowed media partners to share exclusive video and other content on the platform and find sponsors for that content. Amplify has been fairly rudimentary, though, mostly with links to video. That’s been changing, as The New York Times first reported: Amplify partners are starting to display their video clips right in the Twitter stream. It’s a format Twitter calls “media forward” and it's showing up more frequently. More media partners and advertisers are sharing video that plays with one click right on Twitter.
Talk about speaking the language of the people. Twitter introduced the smiley face, and it's not just users who want to express themselves in cartoon characters. Already Wendy’s is promoting tweets that translate: “burger plus burger equals happy.”
Twitter introduced its variation of the slideshow, allowing users and brands to upload more than one photo into tweets and share them as a digital collage.
Retweets, faves and views
Reports are coming out that Twitter is testing how to simplify some of the lingo like “RT” and”@.” Instead of retweet Twitter could go with “share.” Even the hashtag is said to be threatened. Also, to give users a better sense of how many people see their tweets, Twitter could share an overall views number, presumably more satisfying than when a newcomer sees no one interacting with messages.
Twitter’s short-form video service unveiled a messenger feature just last week—following the path of Facebook’s Instagram—that started allowing members to more personally communicate. Brands are watching messaging potential closely as they look for new ways to connect one-on-one with social media users, some of whom can help lift marketing campaigns. A number of messaging services are starting to intrigue advertisers who could connect more intimately with fans, respond to customer issues and talk individually with consumers.
Twitter has been preparing advertisers for more direct-response ad formats that allow consumer actions like app installs, click-to-call and e-mail signups right from the app. The new ads already are starting to show up with companies like SalesForce and Square pushing app downloads on Twitter. The Wall Street Journal reported there could be up to 15 varieties of such performance-based advertising.