Twitter can be a massively helpful marketing tool for businesses of all sizes; it’s a great way to get out quick bursts of valuable information out frequently to users who would be interested in seeing it.
Twitter also has relatively high click-through rates and encourages users to share and retweet posts, making it easier for your content to get shared and spread around quickly.
Twitter, like all social media platforms, continues to change and improve, updating frequently to stay relevant and valuable in relation to their social media competitors.
Especially now that Instagram has edged past Twitter in number of users, Twitter has worked hard recently to improve their platform and offer new changes to create value for businesses and users alike.
Let’s check what’s new and how you can get the most out of it!
Some of the changes are small and likely won’t have much of an impact on either businesses or users, like their new video autoplay feature, but others could have a big impact. To help you stay up to date, we’ve compiled a list of the recent Twitter changes (happening within the past six months) that you need to know about, starting with the updates to Twitter Ads.
Twitter Ads Updates
Twitter Ads, for a while, was lagging behind Facebook, and we still believe that Facebook Ads is the stronger ad platform. That being said, Twitter Ads is working hard to catch up, and for the businesses who use Twitter Ads and the ones who may in the future, knowing the changes happening on Twitter Ads is important.
In the past few years, Twitter’s ad system has gotten a major overhaul, and they’re still working on making some big changes (some of which are inspired by Facebook). Here’s some of the biggest ones that have happened in the past few months:
Installed App Category: A new targeting option, the installed app category feature allows advertisers to target users who—you guessed it—have and use certain types of apps on their mobile devices. If you have an app you want to encourage downloads or usage of, this is a great option to consider when you’re doing your targeting.
You can choose what category of apps you want your users to be currently engaged with. Twitter’s example is to target the category “productivity” for a task management app.
Partner Audiences: Partner Audiences allows you to target users who have shown great interest and intent in your product or industry off of Twitter. For example, a business selling cars could connect with a partner audience where users are looking for new cars. You can read more about this complex targeting feature here.
Quick Promote: To make your job as an advertiser easier than ever, Twitter has created the “quick promote” option, allowing you to select a Tweet off your feed and choose a budget and start promoting your Tweet instantly. Twitter will do the targeting for you.
Website Card for Twitter Ads: Twitter recently released a new option for Twitter Ads, allowing marketers to draw extra attention and provide extra information to users at no extra charge.
The Website Card is only available for campaigns designed to send users to your website, and it allows you to give a great deal more information to users about your brand, site, or product. If you’re running a campaign where you can enable them, you should.
Syndicated Ads: This is a feature that is only in the early stages of rolling out but could be a really big deal to marketers in the future.
Twitter Ads can be taken off of Twitter and appear on Flipboard and Yahoo!Japan. If your target audience is on either of these sites or platforms, it’s a great way to connect with new users that you might not have successfully connected with otherwise.
Even if this isn’t something marketers want to jump on right now, it’s something everyone should keep an eye on—if it expands and enables marketers to send their ads on a larger variety of sites, it could make a big impact.
I want to note here that even with the recent changes to Twitter Ads, we don’t recommend it for most businesses and/or audiences. There are obviously exceptions to this, but in general, the cost is significantly higher compared to other marketing platforms. Still, as mentioned above, it doesn’t hurt to keep an eye on the changes and know what’s available in case it works for you and your business.
Extended Direct Messages
Until recently, Twitter’s message system only allowed for messages that were 140 characters or less. Direct message systems will soon allow for up to 10,000 characters, starting soon in July.
Direct messages have played an important part when it comes to Twitter’s role in customer service, allowing customers to send messages of either praise or criticsm to a brand privately. With the possible length of direct messages increased, brands can expect to see more questions, compliments, and complaints from customers.
Users on social media expect prompt responses, so be ready for the potential (and maybe even likely) influx of more and longer direct messages. Group direct messaging has also been enabled, though I don’t think this will matter much for business usage.
Twitter has also released a feature in November allowing users to share Tweets in a direct message. You can see more about this here if you missed it before.
New Analytics Homepage
To help businesses and marketers understand what’s happening on their Twitter profiles, Twitter’s released an updated Analytics Home Page.
The goal behind the new Analytics Homepage is to allow businesses to see what content is performing best with their audience and give them insight into how to optimize and create high-performing content in the future.
The new analytics make it much easier to track your business’s progress on Twitter, easily seeing how many Tweets you’ve put out in a month, how many impressions or mentions you gained, how many followers you gained, and more.
You’ll also be able to get specifics, being told what specific Tweet performed the best, and which mention was most valuable and impactful. You can also go to an section just for your Tweets, where you can get more detailed statstics about your Tweets and their performance.
The new Homepage is clean and efficient, giving you some of the most important information you’ll need from Twitter’s analytics, and all in a quick glance.
Twitter’s Audience Insights
Twitter has taken yet another note out of Facebook’s book, providing their own Audience Insights for each users’ accounts.
Twitter’s Audience Insights grants you a valuable look at how your audience behaves and purchases, as well as giving you information about some of their lifestyle statistics (like their net worth and education level).
This information can show you who really makes up your audience, which may be different than what you had expected. It can also give you insight into how to better target the audience you currently have, or how to target members of your audience you feel that you’re missing.
Twitter’s Audience Insights can be accessed from the main analytics page.
This is still an up-and-coming feature, which is currently only available to a handful of companies as it gets tested out, but it could still be a big one. Twitter is using their massive amounts of data to encourage users to shop and purchase off-Twitter products. They’re calling this feature “Shopping Collections.”
Twitter is currently testing out the process of sorting relevant Tweets about products and places, which they will use to send users to designated, specialized landing pages that will feature images, videos, and content about the product. There will also be information about how to purchase the product or service, and encouragement for users to purchase it.
Right now only a few dozen companies have access to this feature, but once the system is perfected, Twitter will likely roll it out with a much wider availability. Current businesses you can check out for examples include HBO’s Game of Thrones, Nordstrom, Nike, and Target.
If developed further, Twitter’s Shopping Collections could end up being something like Pinterest’s new Buyable Pins, which are still currently in beta testing. It’s something worth keeping an eye on for sure. You can read more about them here.
Users Getting Tweets from Brands They Don’t Follow
Have you ever wished that your content could show up on the feeds of people who don’t yet follow, but without having to pay for it or run Twitter Ads? This update actually makes it possible.
There’s been a lot of talk for a while about updated algorithms for Twitter’s feeds, and there’s some good evidence of it here. Twitter has started posting tweets in users’ feeds from accounts they don’t follow—and they aren’t paid ads.
Twitter is automatically looking for high value, popular content that people in your network and with similar interests are interacting with, and they’re sharing it on your wall.
For marketers and businesses, this adds even more incentive to create high quality content you know users will want to engage with, especially considering this isn’t entirely unlike having Twitter content ads run without you having to pay for them.
We don’t really recommend using Twitter Ads as an ad platform; it’s expensive, and sometimes the targeting can be inaccurate. That being said, Twitter as a social media site and a marketing platform is a highly valuable tool, and one that we use frequently ourselves.
Twitter continues to make changes to both their main site and their ad platforms, increasing their value in both as important marketing platforms. These changes are all positive steps that will help businesses better and more efficiently connect with the people they want to reach.
What do you think of the recent Twitter changes? Do you think any will help your business? How often do you use Twitter for your business? Share your experiences in the comments below.