Twitter’s Pictorial Revolution Suits Nobody

In Customer Experience, Featured on App, Marketing and Sales, Social media by Vaughn Highfield

Twitter, Pictures, Adverts, Promoted users, Promoted Tweets, Quip, Sprint, Instagram, Power user, Marketing, Customer expereince, Customer relations

Those who use Twitter regularly enough will have noticed that at the start of the week the social networking site got a little bit of an overhaul.

While it's blue lines still annoyingly exist, now users get the delightful sign that their words are no longer important, instead becoming little more than captions to big pictures paraded on the front-page and on the app itself.

It's something that's been done to woo over the newcomers to penetrating a rather peculiar pastime. It's surely a hard sell to bring in new users when the premise revolves around the idea of talking about themselves into a public audience. But now, by making pictures the focus, it becomes something more on par with Instagram in consumers minds.

It's no surprise this has come about just around the time that Twitter decides to go public – a time where bringing in advertisers is a crucial revenue stream for the network.

It would also seem like a no brainer to jump onto Twitter with adverts, pushing out promoted tweets with photos that appear automatically. If done right, these ads should land with an engaged audience – meaning you'll get some interaction too.

Of course, this is the ideal, and I'm a little dubious of it really working too well.

As a Twitter ‘power user' (a term I hate to use) myself, having been part of the network since 2009 and pushing the 41.5k tweets mark, the idea of pictures taking up my feed is horrid.

Luckily, I can switch them off in the menu – but then that begs the question as to why would any advertiser want to use Twitter this way when so many can just switch off this annoyance?

I use HootSuite for the Total Customer Twitter, and that has the handy option of turning off promoted tweets from ever turning up on the site. And it's not alone in third-party software that does the exact same thing.

Over time more people will begin to jump from the main Twitter site and onto these clients – something many other ‘power users' do anyway.

It's also worth noting that Facebook, which makes a killing in ad revenue, only really makes use of around 10 per cent of someone's screen with adverts, while Twitter uses roughly 25 per cent or more.

What's worse is that the vast majority of promoted tweets are dry, uninspiring, uninteresting, and make me want to distance myself from the brand as much as I can.

This is usually because the tweets that are promoted don't tap into what Twitter is really about: sharing thoughts and ideas with witty quips.

People are funny, even those seriously dull and dry people who occupy at least one part of your office. On Twitter those folks are comedic geniuses in the world of dry wit.

As we've already seen, Tesco Mobile do this excellently with their campaigns, and that's the sort of stuff people want to be seeing on their feed. And, if you're dubious about going down that route, give them something to make it worth their while by clicking.

If Twitter really wants to make an impact with its advertising, stop with this picture madness and instead encourage advertisers to be more innovative with their ads.


[Image: Quartz]