Tag Archive | "timeline"

Twitter’s Crossroads: To Be ‘Live,’ But Easily Accessible

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As Twitter prepares to light the candle on its 10th birthday, the site is at somewhat of a crossroads.

Revenue-wise, Twitter is growing as an advertising platform. More businesses, small and large, are paying for Promoted Tweets. Major brands are taking advantage of exclusive ad units such as the branded hashtag emoji and First View.

Will McInnes, CMO at Twitter Marketing Partner Brandwatch, was really impressed with what Twitter has done on the advertising side:

Twitter has clearly got their game together on the commercial side. Their earnings announcement shows good financial results that make you feel proud. Achieving their revenue targets, successfully innovating with new formats on the commercial and advertising and marketing fronts is good news. The product is where Twitter needs to focus now as product innovation will be key to driving much-needed new users. Also, there’s a clear commitment to shareholders to build out the portfolio for marketers – they’ve zeroed in on that commitment, and I’m completely confident that they will do it.

However, many users find Twitter either too confusing or too much to keep up with. During its latest earnings conference call on Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey repeatedly talked about how he wants to emphasize the site’s real-time nature, but make it a more accessible platform:

We’re focused now on what Twitter does best, live. Twitter is live. Live commentary, live conversations, and live connections. Whether it’s breaking news, entertainment, sports, or everyday topics, hearing about and watching the live event unfold is the fastest way to understand the power of Twitter.

Twitter has always been considered a second screen for what’s happening in the world and we believe we can become the first screen for everything that’s happening right now. And by doing so, we believe we can build the planet’s largest daily connected audience.

Twitter faces a major problem: stagnant user growth. Twitter actually lost 2 million monthly active users in Q4 at a time when that figure should be skyrocketing up. For the advertising side to continue to grow, it stands to reason that Twitter needs an increasing amount of people to be advertised to. To be fair, the company noted in a letter to shareholders that the site has gained more users in early Q1 2016.

#Twitter saw the worst user growth among the big social media co’s, despite the smallest user base. $TWTR pic.twitter.com/Y1GYZkf2CO

— Cory Johnson (@CoryTV) February 10, 2016

Unless you’ve been on Twitter for some time or know exactly who you want to follow, Twitter can be a lonely experience — full of speaking into a void and trying to engage with people who have thousands of accounts they’re following. Combined with a firehose of information, it’s easy to see why many people sign up, check Twitter out, then leave.

But what can Twitter do? In addition to focusing on still being live, Twitter has integrated new features to make the site more user-friendly, such as Moments and Show Me The Best Tweets First. The company is trying to balance the wishes of power users who have been on the site for nearly a decade with the casual users who currently lack engagement motivation.

Many users haven’t been a fan of a more algorithm-based timeline, as the raw flow of information is one of Twitter’s distinguishing features. Twitter announced Moments with a splash; Dorsey said that the tweet-curating feature has been successful so far:

Moments has proven to be a fantastic way to tell a story, so it’s a collection of tweets in chronological order. We’re seeing a lot of positive activity with Moments in the timeline and people tweeting Moments.

When a Moments is in a tweet, it’s opened with higher-than-average click-through, which is really awesome. So we want to focus a whole lot more energy on enabling people to tweet out Moments, but also more people to create these Moments as well. But it all goes back to that focus on the timeline and making the timeline better and better and better and better.

Louis Gray, the senior program manager of Google Analytics, has an idea. Gray notes that the constantly-live flow of tweets can be a “detriment” to people who aren’t ready for all of that information.

He acknowledges that the people who love the live stream of tweets aren’t really in the majority, and that a personalized experience would be a smart next step for Twitter:

So imagine you’re one of the millions of users of Twitter (or Facebook, etc.) who doesn’t check in every day. On the rare occasion you do visit, you’re not seeing a feed of updates from people who matter to you most. You’re instead seeing a feed of updates from people who post the most. And quantity rarely was quality. When your selling action to those most likely to leave your service is to give them something low quality and off topic, that’s a problem. And yet, for many services, that’s the default.

Twitter should be personal just for me. So should Facebook. And LinkedIn. And the web at large. And my phone and car and so on. If a dichotomy is set up between something that’s smart and personal against one that isn’t, I know I’m going to give the service a chance to give me a better experience — and if not, I should always be able to go back.

Readers: What could Twitter do to entice new and novice users?

Image courtesy of rvlsoft / Shutterstock.com.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Twitter’s Revenue is Growing, But Site Lost 2 Million Users in Q4

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Twitter’s advertising efforts worked well in Q4 2015, but the company is having trouble retaining users — much less enticing new ones.

Twitter announced its Q4 2015 results Wednesday, showing that not counting SMS Fast Followers, monthly active users (MAUs) declined from 307 million in Q3 to 305 million in Q4. Year-over-year, this is only a 6 percent increase.

However, Twitter’s shareholders letter is quick to point out that they’ve seen January monthly active user levels rise back to Q3 levels. Impressively, mobile MAUs represented about 80 percent of total MAUs.

As of the end of January, we’ve seen MAUs return to Q3 levels. Confident in continued growth with disciplined execution. #TWTR

— TwitterIR (@TwitterIR) February 10, 2016

Advertisers have been much happier with Twitter’s progression. The company reported a Q4 revenue of $710 million — a year-over-year increase of 48 percent. Overall in 2015, Twitter’s revenues exceeded $2.2 billion. Ad engagement is up 153 percent, showing that users are reacting well to ads — no small feat.

Another huge announcement for Twitter: the company now has more than 130,000 active advertisers, a 90 percent year-over-year jump. In its shareholder letter, Twitter talked about the growth among its small business sector:

We expect that SMB growth will continue as we improve our product, making it faster and easier to run campaigns and improve our direct response tools. We are also very pleased by the growth in active users of our Tweet Analytics dashboard, where people can measure the performance of their organic Tweets and can choose to amplify that performance with our SMB ads product. In Q4, our Tweet Analytics dashboard had over 25 million active users, up 3x compared to Q3, creating a large and fast-growing pool of potential marketers to convert into SMB advertisers.

Still, arguably the most pressing problem facing Twitter is the stagnant user growth. In Q4, Twitter reported a total audience (taking into account MAUs and logged-out users) of 800 million. That means roughly 480 million people view Twitter content without logging in.

Through a sample experience on a log-out screen and an algorithmic Timeline setup, Twitter is bending over backwards to cater to users who are confused by the service.

In the shareholder letter, Twitter explained how they want to make the site easier and more intuitive to use:

Twitter is an iconic service and a globally recognized brand. We are going to fix the broken windows and confusing parts, like the .@name syntax and @reply rules, that we know inhibit usage and drive people away. We’re going to improve the timeline to make sure you see the best Tweets, while preserving the timeliness we are known for. The timeline improvement we announced just this morning has grown usage across the board (including Tweeting and Retweeting). We’re going to improve onboarding flows to make sure you easily find both your contacts and your interests. We’re going to make Tweeting faster while making Tweets more expressive with both text and visual media. We’re going to help people come together around a particular topic, such as our @NBA timelines experiences. Relentlessly refining Twitter will enable more people to get more out of Twitter faster.

Readers: How can Twitter make the site easier to use — without alienating core users?

Top image courtesy of Ellica / Shutterstock.com.

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Show Me the Best Tweets First: Twitter Wants Timeline to Act Like Facebook’s News Feed

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Twitter announced an update Wednesday morning that could signal the eventual death of the reverse-chronological timeline.

Now, users can choose to have an experience that surfaces “the best Tweets” that they’ve missed, regardless of time, atop timeline. Twitter has been testing a non-chronological timeline, with mixed reviews from users. This is the official rollout for iOS, Android and Web.

Though some users have found the non-chronological timeline a bit confusing, Twitter senior engineering manager Mike Jahr said that it had led to higher amounts of retweets and engagement:

We’ve already seen that people who use this new feature tend to Retweet and Tweet more, creating more live commentary and conversations, which is great for everyone. To check it out now, just go into the timeline section of your settings and choose ‘Show me the best Tweets first‘. We’ll be listening to your feedback and making it even better over time. Then we’ll be turning on the feature for you in coming weeks — look out for a notification in your timeline. We love it and think you will too. If you don’t, send your thoughts our way, and you can easily turn it off in settings.

We think this is a great way to get even more out of Twitter and we’re excited for you to experience it.

A help center entry by Twitter suggests that the default setting of “Show me the best Tweets first” is on:

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 7.11.08 AM

Note: Not all users seem to have this feature right now.

It’s interesting that Twitter wants to change the precise thing that makes it so different from Facebook: the reverse-chronological timeline. Twitter experts have said that the firehose of Tweets can be a bit overwhelming for new and novice users: the kinds of people Twitter is trying so hard to court. Many Facebook users detest the News Feed algorithm and badly want what Twitter has had from the start: a pure, unfiltered stream.

Instead of a neat timeline, users who don’t opt out of this will see tweets ranked in terms of importance or interest. With the non-chronological timeline test Twitter ran in December, re-tweets often appeared before the original tweet.

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Readers: What do you think of this update?

Top image courtesy of zamzawawi isa / Shutterstock.com.

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Twitter Will Now Put Recommended (Not Newest) Tweets At the Top Of Your Timeline

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Timing Is Everything: Twitter Unveils First View Ads, Videos At The Top Of Your Timeline

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Twitter’s New Timeline Brings Content to Logged-Out Mobile Web Browsers

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Twitter wants new and novice users to check out what the site to offer, and has been testing ways to get tweets in front of as many eyeballs as possible — even if those eyeballs belong to someone not registered with the site.

Today, Twitter announced that mobile web users who are not logged in can still see a timeline experience via a home timeline.

Twitter product manager Paul Lambert explained more in a blog post:

We’re rolling out a home timeline to people across 23 countries who visit the twitter.com homepage on their mobile devices. Before today, you could see individual Tweets but it was hard to discover stories and conversations happening on Twitter without signing in. Now, you can check out a news story as it unfolds, dive into the play-by-play discussions around a game, and then come back again to see that exchange between two rappers everyone’s been talking about. It’s real-time and straight from the source, just like the Twitter experience for those who log in.

Today we’re bringing Tweets to more people around the  on our homepage: https://t.co/VIVfJCt2PU pic.twitter.com/C0htvdamPn

— Twitter (@twitter) February 2, 2016

This is rolling out today for users in 23 countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Japan, Kenya, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan, the U.K. and the U.S.

Twitter is also giving the aforementioned countries a refreshed welcome page on desktop, allowing logged-out people to see important and notable tweets.

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Readers: What else could Twitter do to entice new and novice users?

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Twitter Adds Live Periscope Broadcasts to iOS App Timeline

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The star of Twitter’s stable of products just got a bigger stage. Twitter announced Tuesday morning that live Periscope broadcasts can now be seen directly in the timeline.

It’s now possible to watch a Periscope broadcast without leaving the Twitter iOS app.

Periscope blogged about this new ability:

Since launch, there have been over 100 million broadcasts created on Periscope. Whenever a broadcast is shared on Twitter, you tap the link to open the Periscope app. Today, we’re replacing those links with the broadcast itself, autoplaying right within the Tweet. And when you tap the video, it goes full-screen and shows Periscope comments and hearts from other viewers. You don’t need the Periscope app or even a Periscope account.

Imagine scrolling through Twitter, reading about Mitch Oates’ underwater adventures. You suddenly find yourself peering through a hole in your timeline out into his world, via his live broadcast. This adds a whole new dimension to Twitter.

Here’s a look at the functionality:

Periscope broadcasts now come alive within Twitter https://t.co/R346R1lgZb

— Periscope (@periscopeco) January 12, 2016

This feature is rolling out starting today for Twitter iOS app users. Twitter and Periscope are working on this feature for the Android app, as well, but no timetable has been given.

Since Periscope launched last year, there have been more than 100 million live video broadcasts. Here’s a look at some of the most popular Periscope stars, such as artist Amanda Oleander:

Name Username Followers Hearts Profile
Amanda Oleander AmandaOleander 524,826 44,687,100 https://www.periscope.tv/AmandaOleander
Howie Mandel howiemandel 143,677 14,616,215 https://www.periscope.tv/howiemandel
Kevin Hart KevinHart4real 467,346 8,672,692 https://www.periscope.tv/KevinHart4real
Ellen DeGeneres TheEllenShow 990,987 8,161,339 https://www.periscope.tv/TheEllenShow
John Mayer JohnMayer 115,286 4,529,357 https://www.periscope.tv/JohnMayer
itsjudytime itsjudytime 75,452 4,478,311 https://www.periscope.tv/itsjudytime
Kaitlyn Bristowe kaitlynbristowe 43,620 3,143,655 https://www.periscope.tv/kaitlynbristowe
Jamie Foxx iamjamiefoxx 166,489 3,014,500 https://www.periscope.tv/iamjamiefoxx
Jenna Mourey/Marbles Jenna_Marbles 147,177 2,972,693 https://www.periscope.tv/Jenna_Marbles
Jim Gaffigan JimGaffigan 166,971 2,791,347 https://www.periscope.tv/JimGaffigan
Cameron Dallas camerondallas 208,724 1,958,212 https://www.periscope.tv/camerondallas
Nerdist nerdist 130,461 1,855,962 https://www.periscope.tv/Jenna_Marbles
Justine Ezarik ijustine 77,793 1,787,021 https://www.periscope.tv/ijustine
Andy Cohen Andy 115,353 1,675,318 https://www.periscope.tv/Andy
Ricky Martin ricky_martin 170,385 1,505,564 https://www.periscope.tv/ricky_martin

Readers: Who is your favorite person to watch on Periscope?

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Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

100M Live Broadcasts In, Periscope Streams New Life Into Your Twitter Feed

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Longform Tweets: Twitter to Bump Character Limit from 140 to 10,000?

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Long-winded tweeters rejoice: the character limit on Twitter could rise exponentially — from its current 140 to 10,000.

Re/code reports that a Twitter team is working on a project called “Beyond 140,” that would allow Twitter users to share their thoughts well beyond 140 characters. The 10,000 character figure is the same limit the platform puts on direct messages.

Re/code’s story notes that this could come toward the end of Q1, but no launch date is determined yet.

Twitter declined to comment to SocialTimes on the matter.

However, this doesn’t mean that your timeline will be clogged by a tome. Reports suggest that only the first 140 characters would show up in a timeline, but give the reader an option to read more. Facebook does a similar thing with longer posts.

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Re/code’s Kurt Wagner discussed what this could mean for Twitter’s future:

The 140-character limit has been around as long as Twitter has; it’s part of the product’s personality. Expanding the limit is a sign that Twitter and Jack Dorsey are willing to make serious changes in hopes of luring new users. Twitter is also tinkering with the idea of changing its reverse chronological timeline — another core Twitter feature.

With regards to expanded tweets, Twitter is also working out a plan for how to deal with potential spamming issues that might arise with an expanded character count, according to sources. It’s unknown, for example, if Twitter will restrict how many users can be mentioned in a single tweet, but the company is apparently thinking through those scenarios. Twitter plans to talk with some of its analytics and measurement partners to prepare them to handle longer tweets beginning later this month, sources say.

This could also have an adverse effect on apps such as TwitLonger, which people use to continue tweets beyond 140 characters.

Often, to get around the 140 character issue, people will tap out a longer message in Notes, Facebook or another app and post a screenshot. This move is likely aimed at bringing more of that conversation onto Twitter.

pic.twitter.com/xi4OgNnmDT

— Brett Lawrie (@blawrie13) December 10, 2015

Readers: Where should Twitter set the character limit, or is 140 just fine?

Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed

Twitter May Increase Tweets To 10,000 Characters, But Hide All Past 140

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