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Twitter looks to robust storytelling with new updates

December 20, 2017

Twitter now shows its video views. Image credit: Twitter


Although luxury brand marketers primarily spend their time on Instagram, Twitter is working to beef up its storytelling capabilities and potentially receive more attention.

Twitter is strengthening  its capabilities to become a more interactive storytelling platform, to compete with other social media giants such as Instagram and Snapchat. As a whole, fashion and luxury brands have focused on Instagram to connect with users due to its capability for high-quality, visual and video content.

“The purpose of all these changes, threading, video, doing away with the 140-character limit, is to make storytelling easier and more compelling,” said Javier Frank, director of technology and commerce at Isobar US, New York. “Luxury brands, which historically looked at Instagram as their main social outlet, now have a new tool for longer-format storytelling to engage their clients.

“Luxury brands have often shunned Twitter for its lack of rich storytelling capabilities,” he said. “The new video and threading features open the door for longer form stories that are more immersive.

“The brands that learn quickly how to exploit this new format have the opportunity to capture the luxury segment of the Twitter user base.”

Mr. Frank is not affiliated with Twitter, but agreed to comment as an industry expert. Twitter was reached for comment.

Storytelling growth via social
Twitter is looking to regain users and marketers' attention with robust new capabilities.

Recently, the social media platform raised its strict character limit, which was originally its claim to fame, but has now proven outdated. Users can now send tweets up to 280 characters instead of only 140.

Now, the platform has introduced view counts on videos, similar to YouTube.

Facebook and its Instagram application have also embraced the video-view strategy. The view count can help content creators see how well their content is being received.

While Facebook and YouTube have their own criteria for what constitutes as a view, Twitter will be using the Media Rating Council. This means that every view longer than two seconds will constitute as a view.

Twitter is hoping that users will notice their content is being seen and continue to spend time with the app. This will also help marketers determine how much of an impact their content is making within the platform.

Successful platforms often look to users’ behavior and how they interpret the platform’s experience. Twitter did so with its other recent endeavor in which it created formal message threading.

Due to the restrictive character count, Twitter users would often create a thread of numerous tweets to tell a larger story. While the content is often compelling, as it breaks up the larger story into easier-to-digest nuggets, doing so was complicated.

Twitter's ability to thread messages

Twitter has now made it so that users who wish to create a message thread can simply click a button within their message to start a new one. This way the message is formatted in a clear, digestible path.

These new capabilities could likely mean a stronger luxury brand presence on Twitter.

Past Twitter updates
Twitter offered the ability to record live video in an immersive 360-degree format to “select partners” of its streaming app, Periscope.

The feature, which debuted last January, allows all users to view the 360-degree videos, and works similarly to analog products at YouTube and Facebook. It was also the company’s highest profile investment in its Periscope property last year, a year that began with acquisition talks and ended with a bloodletting of talent, including the departures of chief technology officer Adam Messenger and vice president of product Josh McFarland (see more).

Consumers have also been flocking to social media to have customer service queries answered, and Twitter has responded by making the process more seamless.

Twitter released a bot builder in which brands such as idea sharing platform Evernote and the United Kingdom's Monarch Airlines are using to answers customer questions. Through direct messaging on Twitter, these bots help answer these issues and direct the query to the correct department (see more).

“While Twitter users have been threading messages for years, the new official threading mechanism comes with the ability to search for specific threads,” Isobar’s Mr. Frank said. “Time will tell how much adoption the search functionality will have, since users are trained on being fed relevant content, rather than searching for it.

“Whatever happens, it is important for content publishers to make threads easy to discover by including relevant keywords in a similar way that Instagram content is tagged,” he said. “Twitter users are accustomed to bite-size brand content in the form of singleton tweets.

“To fully exploit the threading feature it is important that the initial tweet, the tip of the thread, is strong enough to compel users to expand the thread view and at the same time self contained so it can be understood as a singleton tweet.”