Twitter introduces Moments: What does it mean for brands?
For most of 2015 Twitter has been talking about Project Lightning, a major enhancement designed to bring in new users, retain Twitter’s core base and leverage Twitter’s strengths in both mobile and media. Finally, the public is getting to see what was only previewed to Twitter insiders and employees: a new way to discover rich media experiences that Twitter is calling Twitter Moments.
How Twitter Moments works
The first noticeable change for Twitter users is the Lightning Bolt that now lives on the toolbar on desktop, Android and iOS apps. This leads users to a rich media tab with auto playing (soundless) videos, categorised by verticals such as “Fun,” “Entertainment,” “News,” “Sports,” and “Today.”
Unlike Snapchat’s superficially similar Stories tab, the organisation of Moments is reminiscent of a newspaper’s distinct sections, and mixes various content sources (e.g. Buzzfeed) within categories rather than asking them to program separate streams of content.
Twitter describes Moments’ in-tab experience like this:
- When swiping you click into a Moment, you’re taken to an introduction with a title and description
- Start to dive right into the story, with immersive full-bleed images and auto playing videos, Vines, and gifs
- A single tap gives you a fuller view of the tweet, which you can favorite, retweet and more. A double tap lets you instantly favorite the tweet
- The progress bar at the bottom indicates how much more each Moment has to offer
- Swiping up or down dismisses the Moment and takes you back to the guide
- At the end of a Moment, click the share button to tweet your thoughts, and send it out to your followers
Within content categories like “Cute” human curators can group multiple media together under one “Moment” such as “Corgi cuteness!”, below:
What’s important about Twitter Moments?
Twitter is under enormous pressure from shareholders to jumpstart their stalled monthly average user growth, which has fallen behind Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat in rate of growth and total users. In addition, Twitter’s positioning as a real-time, events-focused platform has lost some of its uniqueness with the successful rollout of Snapchat’s Stories, as well as the rise of Instagram for behind-the-scenes event and celebrity content and Facebook’s recent addition of Trending topics.
Some of the early Moments so far have allowed Twitter to reassert their traditional strength when it comes to this type of content, including packaging together celebrity throwback Thursday pics and cultural events such as the season premier of Fox’s TV show Empire.
Moments also allows Twitter to put a much-needed emphasis on rich media. The perception persists that it is a network for link sharing in comparison to places like Instagram, Snapchat and even Facebook, where gifs, videos and images have come to dominate the landscape. Moments puts visual storytelling front and center, critical to driving Twitter’s future success.
Finally, Moments serves to be a great set up to surface the creators of consistently compelling content in a way that newcomers (to the platform as well as to those content creators) can hopefully find and follow, ideally building in the stickiness Twitter hopes will keep them coming back to the platform.
Twitter Moments and media
Twitter isn’t revealing details yet on what Moments will look like from a paid media perspective (currently in beta for Q4), but they have confirmed that paid media will indeed be an integral part of the new experience. We do know that they are looking, at least initially, at promoted trends as a model. This means that the following may soon be opportunities:
- 24-hour takeovers
- Ability to swap media assets out within that window
- Pricing based in part on demand for certain days (e.g. Valentine’s Day, Super Bowl)
- A first-come reservation system for in-demand days
- Brands will need to have adequate, interesting content, similar to a My Story on Snapchat
In time, we expect brands to have the option of sponsoring an existing topic.
What this means for brands
Moments has the potential to be a powerful new way to leverage Twitter for rich, timely media. If Snapchat’s Stories is in your consideration set, Moments should be as well –especially considering the likelihood that twitter will provide more granularity on results. While the paid component hasn’t launched yet this is the time to begin planning and working to have a strategy and even some assets in place around sponsorships, key dates, and even things like product launches.