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Twitter readies design changes as it unveils new ad offerings

Matt Kapko | April 22, 2014
Twitter has taken a slow approach in the rollout of new ad products and changes to the user interface, but that's beginning to change. Following its deeper integration with MoPub, Twitter is expected to reveal a series of new ad products alongside a refined and more feature-rich user experience.

Twitter's Future Depends on Ecommerce

SocialWire CEO Bob Buch says Twitter's success will largely depend on its capability to make waves and gain traction in ecommerce. "I think ecommerce will either be big for Twitter or Twitter will not be successful at advertising," he says.

"It's a must have. What marketing platform online has been successful without a large chunk of their advertising revenue coming from direct response? That's what marketers use the Internet for," Buch says.

"Facebook surrounds marketers in metrics that don't mean anything. I really hope Twitter doesn't make Facebook's mistake here." — Nate Elliott, Forrester

With new products and features in its pipeline, Buch says he's confident that Twitter is on a clear path to turn around its ecommerce business.

"I am still bullish on Twitter," he says, calling the platform unique for its capability to drive users in to stores in real-time. "I think there's a huge opportunity there ... The key complaint that marketers have is the lack of targeting. Their targeting has not been as good as Facebook's but that's going to fundamentally change."

Oddly enough, for Twitter to attract more revenue from retailers and consumer packaged goods brands it has to encourage users to jump off the platform in a way. "All you want is someone to get to your site as fast as possible and buy stuff," says Buch.

Twitter is expected to introduce a series of other ad products. Indeed, some reports suggest the company is readying as many as 15 units to be released before the fall.

"I wouldn't be surprised if they have a dozen ad products in ad testing right now," says Elliott of Forrester. "I'd be surprised if they roll all those out."

New ad units are well and good, but Elliott is also holding out hope for better metrics from Twitter. "Facebook surrounds marketers in metrics that don't mean anything," Elliott says. "I really hope Twitter doesn't make Facebook's mistake here."

Twitter on the Cusp of a New User Experience

While innovations on the advertising front abound, Twitter's platform and the experience it provides users are both long overdue for a refresh. A limited pool of users are already seeing what Twitter has in mind, assuming plans don't change before a wider rollout.

Under the current framework, user profiles are going the way of Facebook with richer media and full bios appearing in a single screen. The new design will also impact timelines by putting less focus on the traditional chronological feed. Tweets and other media will be spread across the page in a more complex presentation that mirrors newer services like Pinterest.

While the redesign hasn't been pushed to all of Twitter's 241 million users yet, other new features like uploading multiple photos in a single tweet and tagging other users in photos have been released in the meantime.

 

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