Social Media

Twitter ‘Moments’ Takes Visual Storytelling to the Next Level

October 9, 2015

Twitter’s exciting new platform feature, Moments, turns popular topics into a collection of visually engaging curated content. The goal of Twitter Moments is to seamlessly aggregate tweets, photos, videos and GIFs from engaging topics, such as life events or breaking news stories, so that users can easily discover the highlights of popular conversations as the events unfold in real-time. Moments will be available to both users and non-users on the Twitter homepage, redefining potential reach of Twitter conversations.

This feature is currently only available to US users across Android, iPhone and desktop web, but users outside of the US can discover Moments within a tweet or direct message (DM) and will be able to see the curated content through that format.

Different from Trending Topics, Moments will appear in a separate new tab on the platform, identified by a lightning bolt symbol. As Moments are happening, users will be able to click through the new lightning bolt tab on their phones to open a list of topics that matter at that moment. By clicking into a Moment, users will then be taken to an introduction with a title and description of the moment. From there, they’ll find a curated collection of content containing everything from photos and videos, to Vines and Periscope livestreams.

When swiping through the Moments feed, a single tap on a piece of content gives the user a full screen view of the tweet and allows them to engage with the content. At the end of the Moment, users can click the share button to Tweet their own thoughts on the Moment. Users will also have the option to “opt in” or follow specific topics to have select content pushed through on their timelines. For more specifics on how to engage with Twitter Moments, check out their guidelines on their support page.

Twitter_MomentsBrand Implications

From an organic perspective:

  • If a brand’s organic content is selected to be part of a Moment, it will have the opportunity to reach more users now than ever before. Moments gives brands a greater opportunity for their content to go “viral” and be seen by new audiences outside of their followers.
  • Buzzworthy content has the best chance to gain Moment status, as most Moments are assembled by the Twitter curation team, or contributed by partners like Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, NASA, MLB, The New York Times, Vogue and The Washington Post.

From a paid perspective:

  • While the new feature is currently debuting without ads, talks of a paid product – Promoted Moments – will give brands the opportunity to own and create a Moment. Twitter has deals in place with an undisclosed number of brands to run ads within the Moments section starting sometime within the next several weeks.
  • Promoted Moments will allow brands to have 100% share of voice (SOV) through an immersive narrative canvas, that’s both timely and relevant to a mass audience, giving brands the opportunity to create richer stories in comparison to Twitter’s current ad offerings.
  • Brands are being provided another way to tell their stories. Twitter VP of Sales, Matt Derella, referred to Promoted Moments as, “a dedicated piece of real estate within the moments guide where a brand can curate a series of different tweets or Vines to actually tell their story” in a recent AdAge article.

Guidelines for Creating Moments

  1. Appeal to the editors: Twitter has a full editorial staff of curators that are focused on pinpointing and organizing these Moments, from sporting events and local news stories, to the latest viral sensations on Twitter.
  1. Know what they cover: Twitter will focus its news coverage on items popping in mainstream media or huge conversations happening on Twitter. They will avoid Moments that could invade privacy, encourage illegal activity or cause harm to others. They will also avoid highlighting Twitter employee content, unless vital in the sharing of the story.
  1. Don’t treat it as an advertising product: The focus of Moments is not to drive brand awareness, purchase or revenue, and therefore the editorial staff will try to be as impartial as possible.
  1. Treat it as a new listening tool: Reporters and marketers are already flocking to the Moments tab in anticipation of capturing the early scoop on a story or a trend, but what will be most interesting to see over the next few weeks is how the standard Twitter user engages, shares and interacts with the new feature. This gives brands and users an equal opportunity for their content to shine on the platform.


As Twitter unveils this new product, brands should continue to follow the mantra of “right time, not real time.” With the crux of content selection for Moments relying on “trending” topics, brands should remain true to their brand voice and participate in the conversation when relevant for the strategy of the brand.

Cover photo via The Daily Dot

Danielle Johnsen, Associate Director, Social Marketing at 360i and Molly Baker, Senior Media Manager at 360i contributed to this post.