After testing out several different design options over the past few months (to the chagrin of many users), Twitter has finally debuted the redesign that is going to stick. It’s a Facebook-like design, with a profile picture and a full background picture that takes up the full screen. The big news, though, comes with the tweets themselves: content that’s popular – that is, retweeted or shared many times – will appear in larger font, drawing attention to material that’s spreading rapidly or that has proven successful on these metrics. As well, twitter accounts can post a stickied tweet to the top of their timeline, promoting a specific campaign or drawing attention to something more about themselves, serving as additional promo for the account. It should allow social media managers and marketers more options in tweaking accounts to push the content that they want to the front of their feeds – and, ideally, their followers.
Twitter has been making noise about an e-commerce solution for some time now, and if reports are to be believed, the microblogging site is close to finalizing the details of the platform. Primarily, Twitter is working to close a deal with Stripe, which would be an ideal back-end solution for making Twitter-based purchases. From a Front-End perspective, Twitter is in discussions with several e-commerce outlets to arrange purchase through feeds. And according to code found on Fancy.com – which points to mock-ups of a potential Twitter Commerce solution – Twitter is looking for Twitter Commerce tweets to appear within users’ streams, much like Promoted Tweets that advertise products, in addition to working within the Discover section to tailor content to users’ wants and follows. At that point, Twitter would prompt you to enter your credit card information, and handle the purchase from there.
It’s all part of Twitter’s plan to add revenue streams as quickly as possible in light of its IPO. In order to sustain its initial success the company now must worry about erasing the common conception that it is a non-profitable startup, and adding new sources of revenue quickly – and effectively – is one powerful way of doing just that. Whether users take to it, however, will be the most important question facing Twitter’s user experience team as they try to make the platform not only user-friendly, but readily accessible.
Social discovery and sharing platform Shareaholic released a report looking at referral traffic data from social media sites in Q4 of 2013. Here’s the short of it: Facebook, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, and Google+ all gained, while Twitter, Reddit, YouTube, and LinkedIn lost. But the data says that Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter combine to dominate so much of the Internet’s referral traffic that the numbers don’t actually speak for the other sites in this category – combined, the rest of the sites only had 1% of the total share, so even as their shares jumped around rapidly it’s hard to take those numbers seriously in the big picture. So, for the top three, Facebook’s referral traffic share rose from 10.37% to 15.44%, and Pinterest also rose from 3.68% to 4.79%; Twitter essentially remained level, changing from 1.17% to 1.12%. The takeaway? Facebook, as usual in these sorts of studies, is the real winner, having driven more than twice the referrals of all other platforms combined.
The body-care company is simply relentless with its creative ads that have massive viral potential. Making the rounds this time are prank websites designed to be ridiculous in nature, and after several seconds of resting on the site an alarm goes off and the familiar Old Spice guy pops up – in stunning HD courtesy of Vimeo – to admonish you for coming to such a website, and to advertise Old Spice in the process. Assuming nothing’s changed, we have Weiden + Kennedy to thank for the laughs, and considering how much this campaign mirrors the others, it’s fairly safe to assume as such. Moving from traditional TV to YouTube, Reddit, and then covert websites has proved a savvy creative scheme. Have a look at a few of the sites below:
Twitter’s improvements in 2013 aren’t limited to making the service more friendly to mass advertisers. The company has begun testing a feature that generates a timeline of “nearby” tweets. Some users are already seeing it on their mobile devices, but the function has not rolled out to all users yet. The “nearby” feed displays a map with the user’s current location, and a feed of tweets, with each tweet’s location indicated on the map as well. This addition to Twitter could be just what it needs, giving users a way to prioritize and sort through millions of tweets. It could also be an opportunity for savvy marketers to respond quickly to feedback from their area, or to gain foot traffic in brick and mortar stores.
After a 9 month hiatus, Facebook is once again launching its mobile ad network, which displays Facebook ads outside of the social network in mobile ads and sites. The goal of the relaunch is to improve the relevancy of the ads over the results from the first test, which resulted in low margins. The delay likely resulted from the combination of low margins and the need to channel money into mobile app install ads and Facebook Exchange, which is driving the ads in the first place. And now that the infrastructure is in place, it looks like the technology is likely here to stay.
Pinterest is making continued design moves and improvements. They’ve announced the launch of an updated “article” pin type that’s designed to expand Pinterest’s reach beyond photographs and linking to e-commerce sites. It turns Pinterest into an article-sharing service, with information like headlines, titles, and descriptions embedded into the pin itself. Today’s changes mean that extra metadata will appear automatically. It’s also introduced a “read it later” service in conjunction with the embeddable article pins, positioning the service as a potentially useful bookmarking tool for looks, websites, and interesting pieces; it could also provide incentives to advertisers who provide targeted offers. For instance, if a user has been pinning articles about running, a shoe brand might point the user to its athletic-themed pins, which also link to its e-commerce outlet. It’s a potent combination that might work wonders in the very near future.
For the past year, brands have resorted to advertising on Facebook with default, thumbnail sized images that weren’t exactly ideal for driving clicks, responses, or conversations. But today, the social network debuts larger images for link shares on desktop as well as mobile ads. The idea is that larger images will help to drive conversions from simply glancing at an ad to actually clicking on it, reading it, and interacting with it. When posted, it becomes a giant link that will point users to a respective website. It fits with Facebook’s June announcement that it was going to cater to marketers even more in the near future, and laid out a new ad format that effects page post link ads, page like ads, offer ads, and more.
The coveted millennial demographic is elusive to advertisers due to its prevailing savvy that comes from being a digitally native generation. Much of the effort to reach these tough customers has been focused on social media, and another player is about to enter the game. Image sharing giant Instagram is on the path to monetization following its acquisition by Facebook last year, and director of business operations Emily White is ready to begin selling ad packages on the service. Brands are already using Instagram to run viral campaigns for free, but many have expressed an interest in more formal advertising options. There is fear that excessive advertising could drive users, especially millennials, away from the service, so there is explicit focus being placed on the development of Instagram’s ad program’s seamlessness. Only time will tell what shape this final presentation will take, but it could quite possibly shift how we think about ads in the app space, given Instagram’s oversimplified user interface which currently shows few obvious options for ad placement.