Social Media

360i Report: Twitter’s Enhanced Brand Pages

February 27, 2012

Executive Summary
Twitter’s latest interface redesign provides an improved user experience and more opportunities for brands to create a presence that better translates their overall brand identity and rich media content within the platform. Enhanced Brand Pages have now rolled out to brands that are spending the required $25,000 in Twitter media monthly.

This POV provides an overview of Brand Pages and recommended next steps for marketers. An appendix reviews recent changes made to pages for everyday users, as well.
Twitter Brand Pages 1
Key takeaways:

Cleaner, more brand-friendly communications. The new Twitter pages allow marketers to create rich, brand-friendly experiences that better showcase their brand’s unique persona and voice. Better separation of brand tweets vs. customer service/one-to-one communication tweets will create a cleaner user experience.
A richer creative canvas. Brand Pages become a creative canvas on which marketers can stylize and design the experience through a customized header, static banner ads and expandable multimedia content that is viewable in-stream.
More for your media. Media buys within Twitter become more powerful with the update due to better analytics that can inform how Promoted Tweets or Promoted Trends are perceived by users.

Twitter currently has more than 100 million global active users, half of which log in every day (a figure that has increased by 30 percent in the past month alone). The platform plays a growing role in social news, conversation and consumers’ interaction with brands, and continues to be a critical social platform for brands to consider when crafting their overall marketing strategy.

Expanded Opportunities with Brand Pages

Brands can now select a specific tweet to be “promoted” front and center on their profile page at the top of the timeline — even with no media buy activated. This free “Promoted Tweet” is a powerful way for brands to highlight their best content for users over a much longer period of time. The previously-short shelf life for a particular tweet can now be expanded for a longer duration for greater impact. The “Promoted Tweet” also auto-expands to reveal an embedded photo or video from Twitpic, Flickr, YouTube or any other sources, without requiring the user to click to view the media behind the link. Additionally, brands will have the ability to geo-target the anchored tweet, ensuring that messaging is served up to relevant markets.

Twitter brand pages 2

The ability to separate the @replies and @mentions from a brand’s own tweets creates a more streamlined experience for potential followers. With follower acquisition in mind, Twitter will segregate a brand’s individual communication and customer service tweets from promotional or equity messaging, providing a cleaner experience, devoid of “noise,” and a more effective snapshot of a brand’s identity to potential followers.
The new layout enables enhanced branding and the inclusion of media such as photos and videos. Through an expanded and fully customizable header image, marketers can display their logo and tagline more prominently than with the current format.

Implications for Earned Media
Twitter’s new features alter the way brands curate content and communicate their unique voice and persona within the platform. With conversations front and center, brands can create a more dynamic environment in which they can form meaningful connections with their audience.

Previously, many brands limited the number of @replies they responded to from users to ensure that new users arriving at their brand destination would see a mix of back-and-forth conversation and brand messaging. Now that brands can promote a tweet, the frequency limit of individual communication is no longer a factor. Twitter has confirmed to 360i that updates provide even more visual sorting for brand tweets — separating out the brand’s @replies to users from the brand’s own tweets for a cleaner browsing experience (much like “posts by me” vs. “posts by friends” on Facebook).
With this update, brands will want to ensure that their content calendar identifies key tweets to be pinned as “Promoted” for new users to see first. Promoted tweets should be created with the goal of engagement in mind; incorporating a clear call-to-action and multimedia will foster greater interaction.
Brands’ conversations are now more present on the brand’s Twitter profile in the threaded @replies with users, and so it’s vital to ensure that all back-and-forth messaging echoes the voice of the brand. Users can now click through @reply to view the entire threaded conversation, enabling them to see the relationships brands build with audiences as they happen.

Implications for Measurement
The Twitter redesign brings valuable improvements in analytics, namely in the realms of sentiment analysis, real-time infographics and click-through metrics.

Twitter’s recently announced partnerships with analytics firms Crimson Hexagon and Mass Relevance are facilitating deeper analytics for brands. Crimson Hexagon’s highly intelligent and human-augmented algorithms include sarcasm detection that leads to more accurate analysis regarding brand mentions. Mass Relevance generates real-time infographics for brands around streams of information (e.g. MTV VMAs), allowing for brands to serve up data on engagement around special events or popular news items. The Twitter dashboard itself is unchanged and no additional analytics are available at this point.

Moreover, improvements to Twitter’s built-in URL shortener now grant marketers with click-through metrics previously lost as users re-shortened and shared links across a variety of third party services. Now, all links shared within Twitter are “wrapped” so the original poster may be provided with ongoing metrics on how the link is shared and engaged with across Twitter and beyond.

Implications for Media & Creative
Media partnerships now include valuable new features for advertisers, summarized in the table below.
Twitter brand pages 3

Twitter Brand Pages 4
Next Steps for a Brand Marketer
The following next steps are suggested for brands currently active on Twitter, or brands that are exploring the social platform for future programs. The new Twitter Brand Pages are available to all brands spending at least $25,000 in media on a monthly cadence. The following considerations apply:
Reassess paid media opportunities. Based on the minimum spend established by Twitter, media partnerships have become more valuable with this update. Marketers should consider reevaluating digital media budget to include an enhanced profile page if multimedia assets are available and pertinent to the communication strategy.
Get creative. The creative canvas made possible by the new Brand Pages give marketers more opportunities to stylize the page as they see fit, keeping in mind this requires an increased need for creative assets such as banners graphics and multimedia to showcase brand assets within the anchored tweet.
Revamp your content strategy. Leveraging visual assets to engage current brand fans and potential followers is especially important now more than ever. Brands are advised to create a content strategy that leverages rich, visual media.
Develop a consistent paid media strategy. Twitter will not automatically remove the enhanced profile page capabilities if brands dip below the minimum monthly spend. However, brands should consistently reevaluate media opportunities to increase visibility of the enhanced page.

Twitter’s investment in the development of a compelling paid media offering represents an investment in brand partnerships. As these new offerings roll out, brands are advised to reconsider the way dollars are allocated across social platforms and begin viewing Twitter as an area where spending may make sense as a way to engage consumers in a compelling, rich format that affords both one-to-one and one-to-many communication.

Appendix: What the redesign means for the everyday user
Twitter’s homepage redesign features a reorganization of major elements around four pillars:

Home: Functioning as the news feed, the “Home” view shows visual content right inside the tweet, instead of linking out to another URL. Here, users can also view threaded @replies and re-tweets for any particular tweet. This section also now features a “Close All Tweets” button on the main navigation of the home stream that compresses the media in all tweets into a collapsed form. These two buttons effectively make the home stream into a collapsible accordion-style user experience that can adjust to provide in-stream media per the viewer’s preference. Typing in any Twitter handle allows users to quickly learn more about the brand or user in a modal window facilitating easy connection.
Connect: All @replies and mentions will live within this area that has been designed to handle threaded communication. The new “in reply to” button spotlights threaded conversation.
Discover: Twitter has reorganized hashtags and trending topics within the “Discover” view, along with enhanced search functionality. This section also identifies stories and trends based around your connections, language, and location (via Twitter’s preference algorithm).
Me: User information is now displayed in this section in a larger and more detailed format. User information now appears on the left rather than the right, which feels intuitive for left-to-right reading patterns.

Twitter’s mobile apps have been given the same four-column user experience treatment as the desktop website, with streamlined interfaces and a new design. On the back end, Twitter’s updated the API to enable users to embed tweets quickly into any website with just a click, eliminating the reliance many developers had on third party widgets to showcase tweets. In addition, the API now allows for improved interaction with other apps and platforms for more seamless social integration across channels such as Google+ and WordPress (among others).
– Published February 2012