Social Media

Twitter’s Profile Makeover Takes Branding Opps to New Heights

September 18, 2012

Yesterday, The Today Show sent out a cryptic tweet teasing a big announcement to come from Twitter. This morning, CEO Dick Costolo unveiled a new look to profile pages and a brand new version of the app for iPad, iPhone and Android – not the huge update many expected, but significant nonetheless.

Given all the recent updates to Twitter’s ad and brand platforms, those of us in the marketing space were quite interested to hear about this announcement. Twitter’s recent focus on interest targeting has elevated the way brands can advertise within the platform, so we were somewhat surprised to find that today’s tweaks are purely aesthetic, at least on the surface.

Image via CNET

There are four relatively significant changes available to all users today which impact both individuals and brands alike.

1. A larger branded canvas: A header image allows you to display more branded content on your Twitter profile page, creating more of a website look. This update is akin to Facebook’s move to the cover photo, which occurred earlier this year.

2. A more malleable background image: Previously, it was very difficult for users to feature a background image with any degree of complexity. The updated design now allows marketers to manipulate and align the page’s background image. Brands can utilize both the left and right side of the background image to display rich, engaging content to your followers.

3. Elevated content: Photo streams for profiles display the images people have shared on Twitter. Whenever you see a photo stream, swipe left or right through the thumbnails or tap to view photos in fullscreen mode. Android users can also get closer to photos with pinch-to-zoom. The expansion of the pinned tweet, which is similar to the Facebook pinning process, allows brands to pin a tweet at the top of the page, which helps promote a certain piece of content to its followers, no matter what time they are checking their profiles. Currently this feature is available only to Twitter advertisers.

4. Optimized cross-platform viewing: The dated iPad app is being completely overhauled with this new launch. The update allows users to see these rich profiles on their iPads, Androids and iPhone, making the transition from desktop to mobile seamless.

Marketers will be pleased with these updates, as they help create a unified and amplified brand experience on the platform. So what does this update mean for your brand and its presence on Twitter?

First, mobile and desktop experiences are now more synced and seamless than ever. Twitter is committed to creating cohesive experiences across desktop and mobile devices. As a majority of Twitter users move to mobile usage (vs. desktop), Twitter is vying to recreate the same experience one would get on their home computer. / Tweet This

Second, this update allows brands to continue to separate themselves from the competition and clearly carve out their own space on Twitter. Branding is everything in social and these added profile builds allow marketers create a look and feel that the brand can truly own. / Tweet This

Finally, the news marks a clear evolution of Twitter’s user experience.  A brand can now create a more tailored and custom experience as it would on a official homepage, creating a stronger user experience and helping elevate what Twitter is delivering to his advertisers. Why leave the platform when you don’t have to? / Tweet This

After seeing success with this enhanced profile page for select advertisers, Twitter is wise to roll out this update to all of brand pages. As the evolution of Twitter from a content aggregation center to a more robust platform continues, these smaller updates will all lead to the bigger picture that brands do not always need to create outside websites – especially when their users and hopeful audiences are already on Twitter, waiting to be reached.

The updates are available now. Here’s how you can implement the changes to enhance your page. Remember to make your updates before November; otherwise, all profiles will default to a standard grey header image.

Header image: Visit the design tab within the settings page to select a pre-loaded theme or to upload a custom image (1252 x 626 pixels for optimal display).  For advertising partners with an enhanced profile page, the new header image replaces the EPP banner.

Background image: Twitter users now have more control of the creative elements within the background image on their profile page. The new design gives marketers the flexibility to align the image and, therefore, use both left and right side of the background image to display rich, engaging content.

Pinned Tweet: Advertisers can visit the campaigns dashboard to pin a tweet to the top of the profile timeline. This will allow you to target specific content to first time visitors to the page.