For those who missed it, last week was Twitter’s most eventful week of the year: the company officially hired Jack Dorsey as CEO on Monday, launched Moments on Tuesday, and announced the planned expansion of Twitter Amplify at the #VideoNOW event in New York on Thursday.
Change is coming, and we think it’s for the better.
The fact that in today’s world, breaking news is first announced on Twitter shows a drastic shift in the way that we, as increasingly tech-savvy consumers, expect and prefer to stay informed on events, both local and global. We want to learn, watch, read, discuss, question, and debate—and we want to do it now, while it’s happening. We see value in having multiple viewpoints and sharing this knowledge to our networks: our friends, families, and followers around the world. We want to stay up to date, and we want it to be easy.
The unveiling of Moments is Twitter’s power play to becoming the Internet’s dominant, comprehensive news hub. The expansion of Amplify is Twitter’s strategy to incentivize the publishing of such newsworthy content on Twitter. These two together, with the added content creation capabilities of Periscope, are a clear strategic move to dominate the traditional television news and newspaper space.
Moments: Twitter’s News Source
Moments is a fantastic new product designed to make following current events and joining in on the conversation easier than ever. Here’s how it works.
- Start by tapping on the lightning bolt icon on your screen; this opens a list of Moments that are relevant now. This list is updated as new events emerge throughout the day.
- Each Moment contains a curated collection of Tweets; an immersive storytelling experience that combines full-screen imagery, autoplaying video, and text.
- You can also choose to follow each Moment as it progresses; receiving updates natively inserted in your main timeline—no more pesky tab switching! You can unfollow each Moment if you wish.
- Finally, you can interact and share with each component of the Moment, as well as the Moment as a whole.
In addition to the "News" Moments, Twitter also provides more timeless content under other categories such as "Fun". Moments are currently generated by Twitter’s own curation team and selected partners such as BuzzFeed, the New York Times, and Bleacher Report, but the expectation is that this will open up as it gains momentum.
For now, these Moments tell the same story to everyone, but we predict they will rapidly become tailor-made for each individual user. The advertising potential for Moments is huge; the in-story placement is highly engaging and ensures full-screen display, if only for a second, and the targeting options will be second-to-none as they become customizable. Watch this space!
Amplify: Twitter’s Highlight Reel
Amplify leverages the user-generated uproar that follows share-worthy events and moments from the big screen to smaller screens, providing monetary incentives for publishers to upload their “highlight reel” videos to Twitter directly.
Amplify is not a new Twitter product by any means; it launched in May 2013, but it has been operating under the radar for select publishers and advertisers only. Twitter announced its intentions to expand the Amplify program to the global market, beginning with a limited beta test in the U.S. on selected devices.
Simply speaking, Amplify incentivizes content creators to publish their videos on Twitter directly by allowing them to sell ad inventory as pre-roll ads (up to six seconds long) to pre-established advertising partners, taking home up to a 70% revenue cut. Compared to YouTube’s reported 55% revenue share, it’s easy to see why this program makes it so appealing for publishers to upload their content to Twitter first, cementing Twitter’s market position as the real-time, in-the-moment playground of the Internet.
Here’s how it works.
- Something shareworthy happens that is captured and distributed on traditional TV, like Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Joey Bautista’s home run/bat flip yesterday.
- A sports publishing network uploads a highlight video clip directly to Twitter, which gains organic distribution due to the shareability, relevance, and exciting nature of its content.
- Advertisers search for content categories, like baseball highlights, and layer on additional demographic targeting.
- Advertisers place pre-roll ads, for example, “This highlight was brought to you by…” on these videos to get their brand message out there.
- Twitter users engage, interact, and share these videos, spreading the moment like wildfire by word of mouth—as the network does best.
With Amplify, publishers are rewarded for uploading content onto Twitter, and advertisers are able to reach beyond their organic followers while ensuring specific targeting through contextual alignment. In terms of brand safety, advertisers can blacklist specific video content and publishers who want full control over who is advertising on their content can still sell ad space through direct partnerships.
The Future is an Open Book
In short, Moments encourages users to turn to Twitter for their daily news consumption; Amplify encourages publishers to upload quality video directly to Twitter, which in turn improves the quality of the content pool available for Moments. And let’s not forget Periscope; while we didn’t talk about it in this piece, Periscope is a unique opportunity for users to broadcast live videos in real-time to other users around the world. This encourages the creation of content to appease the curiosity of human nature and make this world smaller, one broadcast at a time.
The week of October 5, 2015 is a one to be remembered in Twitter history. With a new leader at its helm who appears to be actively advocating for change, it’s an exciting time ahead for users, publishers, and advertisers alike—and we can’t wait to see how this develops.