Twitter hasn’t exactly been known for releasing lots of product and feature updates—quite the opposite, in fact. But over the last few months, they’ve been rolling out new strategies designed to increase user engagement and profitability.
The “conscious recoupling” of Twitter and Google was just the first piece of big Twitter news; here are 6 more you need to be aware of!
1. Tweet Activity in Mobile App
The Tweet Activity Dashboard accessible through Twitter Ads and Twitter Analytics is pretty great, but what if you want a little more real-time information on your mobile device?
Now, you can access activity for individual tweets in a intuitive way, by simply expanding a tweet and then clicking “View Tweet Activity” below the main body of the tweet.
You’ll then see the number of impressions and engagments, as well as “engagement highlights,” which can include the percent of people who retweeted or favorited, clicked links, viewed a photo or video (embedded media clicks), or clicked to expand tweet details.
This information doesn’t appear on plain retweets, but it does on “Quote Tweets” and any other tweet originating from your account.
Initially available exclusively to advertisers, this is now something accessible to all users who have been on Twitter for more than 14 days. Simply log in to Twitter Ads or Twitter Analytics to indicate interest, and it should appear in your mobile app shortly!
2. Group Direct Messaging
I’ll keep it short and sweet—Twitter has expanded direct messages to enable private group chats.
Now, you can initiate a direct message with a group of up to 20 people, even if some of those people don’t follow each other. That should make a whole bunch of clubs, community organizations, and small businesses pretty happy!
3. Native Video Functionality
This is a big one, particularly for smaller brands that rely on visuals and content, or want to engage on a more personal level with their followers.
Now, you can capture, edit, and share videos from within the mobile app. The feature was launched on Neil Patrick Harris’s Twitter account as a cross-promotion with the Oscars:
— Neil Patrick Harris (@ActuallyNPH) January 27, 2015
Twitter’s announcement suggests that native video puts all Twitter users on the same playing field as major brands, which use Twitter to share media they’ve built elsewhere. This is especially important for small brands, because it helps them get the content and engagement without expensive software and extra staff hours.
Twitter videos can be up to 30 seconds long, setting them apart from Vine’s 6-second ones (Vine is owned by Twitter) and making them even more useful to businesses.
If you want to film and edit videos in advance of posting, don’t worry: iOS users will be able to upload videos from their camera rolls as well, a feature that will be rolled our to Android users soon.
According to Twitter’s blog, “We designed our camera to be simple to use so you can capture and share life’s most interesting moments as they happen. In just a few taps you can add a video to unfolding conversations, share your perspective of a live event, and show your everyday moments instantly, without ever having to leave the app. Viewing and playing videos is just as simple: videos are previewed with a thumbnail and you can play them with just one tap.”
4. Quick Promote Tweets
The new “quick promote” feature allows businesses to “amplify your best performing tweets” directly from the analytics dashboard, which could drive better performance by helping businesses make smarter choices about which tweets to promote.
According to Twitter, it’s designed to make promoted content simpler and easier for small businesses that don’t do a lot of advertising on Twitter. It’s easy to pick the level of promotion you want, with dollar amounts tied to the estimated number of engagements.
Simply choose an existing tweet from your analytics dashboard (ideally one that already has high engagement), choose a promotion budget, and go! Twitter will automatically target your promoted tweet to users with similar interests to your followers.
5. Twitter Help for Noobs
Released for limited public testing a few weeks ago, Instant Timeline helps new users get started by displaying algorithmically-suggested tweets rather than an intimidating empty feed.
Twitter uses the user's contact list not only to tailor this suggested feed, but also to prompt users to follow people they know and accounts that are popular among people they know. Other changes designed to make it easier for newbies to get started include built-in tutorials about features like direct messages.
These changes may not directly affect marketers, but they’re designed to make it easier to join Twitter and jump in with both feet. There are about 24 million Twitter users who never tweet, so ultimately anything that improves engagement makes Twitter a more desirable platform for social media marketing.
6. "While You Were Away…"
A few weeks back, Twitter started showing iPhone users a summary of the top tweets they missed since they last checked Twitter—a feature they’re calling Recap. The less you use Twitter, the more frequently you’ll see the Recap when you log in.
So which tweets will you see? In their words: “we will surface a few of the best Tweets you probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise, determined by engagement and other factors.”
Twitter's making some pretty interesting changes these days, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next! We'll let you know if any Twitter news will affect your marketing.