Twitter will display images and videos directly in your stream (which is great for brands)

Yesterday, Twitter started displaying pictures and video directly in users’ streams, a new feature designed to make Twitter less texty and more visually engaging. This means users can get to visual content without an extra click on a link, simply seeing it display automatically in their Twitter feeds.

In a blog post announcing the update, Twitter VP of product Michael Sippey wrote,

 We want to make it easier for everyone to experience those moments on Twitter. That’s why starting today, timelines on Twitter will be more visual and more engaging: previews of Twitter photos and videos from Vine will be front and center in Tweets. To see more of the photo or play the video, just tap.”

At first glance, it definitely makes the Twitter viewing experience more engaging. Now you can use images and Vines to make your tweets stand out in a stream of text, breaking up the monotony of words. However, some users expressed concerns about not having a choice in seeing certain images that might be offensive or NSFW, which is valid, (although there is an option to turn images off in Twitter’s mobile apps.) 

The biggest winners from this new update will definitely be brands. While Twitter has been offering Promoted Tweets for a while, now this means a Promoted Tweet will basically be a full on display ad, when brands attach an image to it. Users won’t have a choice but to see the ad show up in their timeline.  

However, brands will still have to maintain a native advertising approach if they want to have their content be engaging to users. Image displays on their own won’t work, but creative images that take advantage of real-time conversations can be highly effective.

Similarly, sponsored Vines from brands will also show up in streams but they still have to be clicked on to start playing. However, if the the video has an interesting enough thumbnail, it should definitely attract clicks from curious users. It’s interesting to note that the only videos that will display are from Vine. That means Instagram and Youtube will still be hidden behind text, requiring an extra click.  

It’s a great opportunity for brands to take advantage of, almost forcing them to use new, mediums such as Vine. We should expect some very creative content to show up in our streams.

Here’s a Vine (duh!) from Twitter to show you how the new feeds will look: 

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