Twitter redesign means more brand engagement with consumers, say industry experts

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Marketers will be able to create a deeper level of engagement with consumers through Twitter's revamped website, which industry experts say is a welcome change.

The redesign, which the social networking and micro-blogging service began to preview September 14, touts enhancements such as embedded photos and videos; a “window” with richer details, such as replies, and other Tweets created by the user; a map of geo-tagged Tweets; and mini-profiles that don't require navigating from the main page.

“Twitter has always been about getting a lot in a little. The constraint of 140 characters drives conciseness and lets you quickly discover and share what's happening. Yet, we've learned something since starting Twitter — life doesn't always fit into 140 characters or less,” Twitter said in a blog post detailing the changes.

There will be a big upside for marketers that participate in Twitter's advertising as long as more consumers use Twitter regularly, said David Berkowitz, senior director of emerging media and innovation at 360i, a digital agency.

“It's going to encourage them to do more with multimedia,” he said.

Images and videos uploaded to Twitter generally require consumers to move from the microblogging service to another site, Berkowitz explained

“Now, once it's all on the screen where you are, it is going to encourage more people to interact with any photos and videos that get posted,” he said. “So, I think brands will [also] be more encouraged to do that — especially marketers that have a lot of great content.”

UPS is one brand that recently enlisted Twitter as a marketing tool in its “We Love Logistics” global b-to-b campaign. It is using the service to drive awareness of a microsite it created for the effort.

“Twitter is a valuable tool in educating our audiences on the value of logistics and linking them to relevant content,” said Maureen Healy, VP of customer communications at UPS. “The forthcoming changes will further enhance our ability to engage customers with the type of content they want, where they want, when they want it.”

Augie Ray, senior analyst at Forrester Research, said Twitter designed the changes to improve its usability, not necessarily to enhance the service as a marketing channel. “But anything that makes Twitter a more intuitive and engaging experience can help those brands who are using Twitter to connect with consumers,” he said. “The changes that Twitter is rolling out won't have an immediate or profound impact on brands' customer relationships, but the improved interface creates benefits for brands and consumers.”

Maureen O'Sullivan, product leader at Acxiom, an interactive marketing services provider, agreed.

“I would say the freeway between consumers and marketers is now wider and more direct,” she said.  

Marketers will have better opportunities to market their goods and services, “whether through ads on Twitter or whether through customer service or effectively promoting products or releasing movie trailers,” O'Sullivan continued. “These are a few examples of how they can now leverage Twitter in a more effective way.”

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