Twitter has never necessarily stood out to me from a PR or content marketing standpoint; however, after the release of new Twitter profiles made headlines this week, a not-as-heavily-covered roll out of 15 new types of Twitter ads was brought to my attention. When you look at these two together, you can appreciate the significance of each of them individually, and realize that Twitter is maybe making some of its biggest moves since its IPO in order to start turning current revenue into actual profit.
New Twitter Profiles
Twitter will begin to roll out new profiles featuring larger profile pictures and customized headers (those of you with profile pics that fit perfectly in the middle of the header will have to rethink that visual strategy) as well as ditching background images. The good news is that the new profiles look similar to Facebook profiles, and from a visual design and consistency standpoint, that can be a good thing.
Where content is concerned, the main Twitter stream on the new profiles will show popular content in a larger font, which should encourage users to create more compelling content but also definitely to advertise in order to boost the popularity of content that should stand out. Moreover, users can pin tweets to the top of their stream, which will have no impact on how often people blast out tweets because Twitter is primarily a mobile platform and the more you tweet about something, the more likelihood someone will actually see it on their phone.
When The New York Times covered the new profiles, they quoted Twitter’s Chief Executive, Dick Costolo saying that the service was too hard to use and vowing to make a better Twitter. The NYTImes went on to assume that “better” meant more visual cues about what’s important on a page, but I think they missed the point by thinking that Costolo was referring solely to the user experience and not Twitter’s business model.
When there are changes to a front-end, what’s always more important is whatever is going on in the back-end.
New Twitter Ads
A few days before announcing the new profiles, Twitter announced 15 new types of ads coming to users’ feeds that feature one-click actions to make it easier for users to download apps, purchase items, call a business, sign up for sweepstakes and others types of contests, and interact with ads and brands in simpler, more automated ways. For businesses exploring paid social strategies, this is massive, especially if the delivery of these ads to mobile devices is well executed.
For users, these ads will find their way into the new profiles in the near future – hopefully in a seamless way, for the sake of Twitter and its advertisers because, if this all works out, the cost of acquiring one new customer on Twitter could fall from the current $20 to be more competitive with Facebook’s $4.
Are paid social promotions part of your company’s social business communications program? If not, consider experimenting with ads on Twitter – Also LinkedIn and Facebook, which have a great ROI when it comes to reaching people (see below) – at the very least to become familiar with the platform’s ability to target exactly who you want to reach and, at most, to see how it’s possible to integrate your communications, marketing and sales efforts by levering social media to drive qualified leads into your funnel.