What Twitter's redesign means for consumers, advertisers, and Twitter.
With 160 million* users, the release of the new Twitter interface could easily turn the Twitter blue into a vibrant green of cash.
"Obviously, there's more opportunities for more info to be displayed now," Biz Stone, Twitter's co-founder, told CNNMoney.com in an interview about Twitter's overhaul. "It's a great opportunity for all sorts of content, including ads."
As Twitter user @hunterwalk tweeted, "#NewTwitter is like a @Twitter mullet – work on the left and party on the right." (Hat tip to The Huffington Post.)
And this should be quite a party. With the enhanced functionality (especially on the new right pane) there is less reason for users to leave the Twitter nest. It has been rolled out to some users to date and Twitter indicates it may take a few weeks until it is everywhere.
This design will attract more readers rather than tweeters, as information on Twitter is now much easier to consume for the average user. And what are readers great for? Readers consume digital advertising.
When asked by PBS NewsHour what has been Twitter co-founder and CEO Evan Williams' biggest lesson over the last four years on how users are interacting and using Twitter, Williams responded, "One major thing we have learned is that not everybody is seeking to share their thoughts with the world, which a lot of the emphasis was on at first, a lot of people come to Twitter to find out what is happening. We are trying to make that experience a lot better." Again, the new design reflects this - an ease for readers/voyeurs.
1. Social commerce. For the people that are coming to find out what is happening, they also want to know what the people they're following are buying. What products and services are they using? What do they like and dislike? This is the tip of social commerce; which takes word-of-mouth to world-of-mouth. The potential is huge, as 78 percent of us trust peer recommendations.
Google's recently-launched Instant Search is proactively attacking the pressure it is feeling from Twitter and Facebook. Inherently, these two social media giants have the platform for a much better search experience – social search. When someone posts something on Twitter, not only can they get an answer from another user, but now they can receive an answer/advertisement in the right pane. Over time, these answers and advertisements will become more intelligent based on user behavior and feedback. The people at Google are very smart, but even they may not be able to avoid the seismic shift of social search that is coming our way.
2. Targeted ads. As Stone alludes to, there is also plenty of room and functionality to run very targeted ads (Twitter profitability here we come anyone?).
"It's faster, it's easier and it's a richer experience," said Williams. "Simple things that are cryptic on Twitter today become a lot more clear."
This is the key point.
The Twitter of old was very cumbersome to navigate and this new experience is a radical change. If you don't believe this is a big deal, the glossy video/advertisement Twitter produced underscores how big internally Twitter feels this is (the video already has over 1.3 million views). Twitter is no longer a toy, but a mainstay in the Internet marketplace.
3. 200 million users at a local level. No question, Twitter has its eye on 200 million users and beyond by the end of the year. Part of Facebook's success in growing to over 500 million users is it makes it inherently easy for mother and grandmothers to join the fun. The new Twitter design also simplifies things for the non-socialmediarati.
And more and more users will be finding out about items in their local area as a result of mapping inclusion assisted by embedded geo-location functionality. This is a similar success model that Facebook has been able to leverage. Not merely being dependent on Fortune 500 marketing dollars, but having small businesses be able to easily purchase advertising that drives results.
As reported by Mashable, the Twitter partnerships include 16 different companies: DailyBooth, DeviantART, Etsy, Flickr, Justin.TV, Kickstarter, Kiva, PhotoZou, Plixi, Twitgoo, TwitPic, TwitVid, Ustream, Vimeo, yfrog, and YouTube.
We've heard the Twitter founders' thoughts; what do you think of the new Twitter and potential advertisements in the near future?
*This number seems to range from 145 to 190 million depending on whom you talk to at Twitter at any given point in time.
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Called a Digital Dale Carnegie, Erik Qualman is the author of best sellers Socialnomics (2009) and Digital Leader (2011). Socialnomics made the #1 Best Sellers List in seven countries and was a finalist for "Book of the Year." Fast Company Magazine lists Qualman as a Top 100 Digital Influencer. He is a frequently requested international speaker and has visited 42 countries. He produced the world's most viewed social media video series and it has been used by NASA to the National Guard.
He has been fortunate to share the stage with Julie Andrews, Al Gore, Tony Hawk, Sarah Palin, Jose Socrates (Prime Minister of Portugal), Alan Mulally, and many others. For the past 17 years Qualman has helped grow the digital capabilities of many companies including Cadillac, EarthLink, EF Education, Yahoo, Travelzoo, and AT&T. He is also an MBA Professor at the Hult International Business School. Qualman holds a BA from Michigan State University and an MBA from The University of Texas. He was Academic All-Big Ten in basketball at Michigan State University and recently gave the commencement address at the University of Texas. He lives in Boston with his wife and daughter.
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