What Expanded Tweets Mean for Marketers


DIGITAS – Last week Twitter rolled out major platform changes that point to the social network’s emergence as a major content-consumption destination.

This is an excerpt from a client letter issued recently by Noah Mallin, vice president/group director of social marketing with Digitas. Click here to view the original report.

Enhanced Tweets

In partnership with a number of publishers including The New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, Der Spiegel Online, WWE, Buzzfeed, TMZ, BET’s 106 & Park, Lifetime, and Dailymotion, Twitter is making it possible to view (and, with SoundCloud, to listen to) rich content within tweets. Previously, this was only possible with videos from YouTube and images from Instagram.

As this is rolled out to users on the desktop, the ability to see this content will also be enabled in mobile browsers. Eventually, this will expand to include Twitter’s mobile apps as well.

For content such as articles, Twitter will display an image, the headline, a 280-character summary that is separate from the 140-character tweet, and a headline plus a link to the writer’s Twitter handle.

Videos can include a video gallery of related videos below the main posted video that users can scroll through and click on within the tweet:

Tailored Trends

Twitter has also introduced a major change to Trending Topics. Up until now Trending Topics simply allowed all Twitter users to see, based on geography, what subjects and hashtags were trending based on velocity at any given time.

Users will still be able to see that but they now will have Tailored Trends as a default–trending topics or hashtags that Twitter’s algorithm has determined are most relevant for you. This will also power Twitter’s “Discover” section on desktop and mobile clients.

Work with your team to apply these analytical models and identify the 10-15 most important things you need to know about your customers. Focus on the information that helps you determine what they are likely to do next and how you can create value for them that builds your relationship with them.

Early Marketer Implications

Currently brands are not able to take advantage of the new Enhanced Tweet capabilities with their own content pages outside of Instagram and YouTube—although we believe that eventually this will be the standard for how Web content is displayed within Twitter—including brands’ websites.

Many brands have content hubs on their websites that aren’t properly set up for sharing in sites like Facebook which, like Twitter, require hidden information on websites associated with the content (also called metadata) to be set up a certain way to display properly when shared into their system.

Long-Term Marketer Implications

These changes to Twitter underscore the need for brands to have a thoughtful, well-defined social content strategy. Facebook makes no bones about the preference their algorithm has in displaying status updates that have content like pictures and videos (which matches what users are most likely to engage with), and the rise of content pools like Instagram and Pinterest show that brands cannot afford to wait.

What the updates tell us is that Twitter’s algorithm of who their users are, what they tweet, and who they follow has become sophisticated enough to power relevance rankings. For brands this means that it could be possible for Twitter to begin to alter users’ streams to emphasize the tweets it believes are most relevant to those users as a way to improve the experience and cut through clutter.

Keep in mind that Twitter has not announced any such step. But at the very least, brands should be thinking about and preparing for some of the same challenges that have emerged on Facebook, where a Like only guarantees visibility to the users for a short period of time before the algorithm determines whether (based on engagement) the brand is still relevant enough to be shown consistently in the user’s news feed. This makes rich, engaging, sharable content that much more important, and not just on Twitter.



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