12th March 2021
Twitter has announced a number of updates and new additions to its platform. Here are the highlights.
New shopping experiments: Both the Facebook and Instagram platforms have been transformed into shopping experiences in recent months as media and commerce continue to converge and TikTok has made moves towards more ecommerce partnerships, now Twitter is following suit.
During its Analyst Day presentation, Twitter talked about a new Twitter card geared towards ecommerce. The card adds a ‘Shop’ call-to-action button which links through to a transaction page. It can also list a product price and display product information from an advertiser’s website.
At present, the button is only available in organic posts, not paid posts. This is leading to some speculation that Twitter may be using it as part of a more general push towards becoming a more creator led platform, having also announced a Super Follow subscription – giving users the ability to charge followers for access to additional content. An organic post shop button would be an attractive feature for such creators to sell fans products and merchandise. It will also be useful for brands to leverage Twitter for more commerce opportunities, even if it the shop button function is not baked into the advertising proposition.
Twitter is also testing other commerce opportunities, such as on-platform stores and other tools, although there are few details on this at present.
Conversation settings expanded to advertisings: All advertisers who compose Tweets directly through the Twitter platform or through its Ads API (Application Programming Interface) will now be able to apply conversations settings to their Tweets. This rolled out to all organic Tweets in August 2020 but now advertisers too will have the option to choose who can reply to their Tweets by selecting either ‘people you follow’ or ‘only people you mention’. This feature allows brands to better control who can engage with their content, which can be a beneficial brand safety tool. It could be also become a creative way for brands to engage people in conversations and amplify a certain message, for example, only allowing people involved in an event to reply to the Tweet.
Other updates: An ‘undo’ button has been tested, which will allow users to undo a Tweet within 5 seconds of posting it. There have been calls for an ‘edit’ button on the platform for some time so that users can correct grammatical errors and other typos but Twitter has repeatedly said this is not going to happen. The undo button might serve as some sort of compromise, giving users the opportunity to quickly rethink their content immediately after sending. Twitter is also expanding its social audio feature Spaces. Currently if you miss a live session there is no way to watch the session on demand but Twitter is said to be considering allowing users to natively record Spaces sessions to allow this. This could also make the platform more attractive for podcasting.
Twitter is making noises about both commercializing its platform through commerce whilst attracting more creators to originate content on it, not just sharing it from other platforms. The aim will be to help creators reach their audiences, expand their content and make more money and Twitter will be hoping this leads to an increase in the quality of content and consequently the number of users on the platform.