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Twitter’s Extreme Makeover — Can it Win Back Users from Third-Party Services?

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Yesterday, Twitter introduced their new look to the world and has begun rolling it out to all users on their platform. Twitter.com has truly been made-over, with a brand new interface featuring a sleeker design, more prominent media content, related tweets and mini profiles.

Here’s a summary of the changes that were highlighted by Twitter (for the full video by Twitter, scroll to the end of the post):

  • Design – The Twitter stream will now appear on the left side of the page. On the right side, what used to be the smaller right-hand column has now expanded into a dashboard-like panel that contains more information on features such as Followers/Following, Who to Follow, Trending Topics, etc. Besides these larger changes, there have been small design tweaks such as tabs to organize your lists and streams, a hidden “Tweet” button, and clearer re-tweet labels.

New Designvia Techcrunch
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Old Design
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  • Prominent display of tweeted photo, video and media content – The new right hand details pane is interactive, and when you click on a tweet with a link to photo or video content, that photo or video will appear in large format for immediate viewing. Supported content platforms include YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr, Twitpic, Twitvid, Yfrog, and others.

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Photos and videos are displayed in the right-hand panel (screenshot from Techcrunch)

  • Featuring related content – When clicking on a tweet that doesn’t link to photo or video content, related information about that tweet will appear in the details pane at the right. Related content may include other tweets from that Twitter user, other people who are tweeting from that location, and more.

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Related tweet content will be featured in the right hand details pane (screenshot from Techcrunch)

  • Mini profiles – If curious about a Twitter user, you can now click on the Twitter handle and see a mini profile as well as choose to follow him or her without having to leave your current screen.

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Mini Profiles will appear on the New Twitter (screenshot from Twitter)

What does this mean for marketers?

With the new interface, Twitter is likely hoping to win users back to Twitter.com from the various 3rd party Twitter clients that dominate the tweeting world, such as TweetDeck, CoTweet and Hootsuite. According to TwitStat, who tracks over 2,800 tweets based on the Twitter client used, only about 14% of those tweets are sent from Twitter.com. Instead, many users opt to tweet from 3rd party Twitter platforms because of their robust interface and the ability to organize the Twitter stream.

If Twitter is able to re-gain users on the new Twitter.com, they will have an easier time monetizing their platform (once they fully develop their business model). Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trending Topics will have a greater impact, and each additional user who chooses Twitter.com over a 3rd party platform equals additional ad impressions that Twitter can serve and sell.

Marketers who are actively managing their brand’s Twitter handles should also welcome the new Twitter interface because of the enhanced visibility for users to discover shared video and photo content. The instant preview of media in the right-hand pane decreases the barrier of having to click away from Twitter, and thereby increases access to that content. Brands can take advantage of this by consistently providing valuable and relevant photos, videos and more for users to engage with.

All in all, as Twitter continues to develop their business model and product, marketers should expect more changes that will bring users back to a more robust Twitter.com, and at the same time create additional opportunities for advertisers.

Meet the New Twitter: Video