Twitter users to see more news links in timelines

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Though news often breaks on Twitter, users are about to see more articles
and trending stories in their timelines.

Twitter is rolling out a new feature to all users (including those on
desktop, Android and iOS) that pushes links tweeted by members of your
network into your timeline. It also groups additional tweets about the same
link underneath it.

The new feature aims to make it easier for users to see news articles at a
glance, along with who is sharing them. A spokesman for Twitter confirmed
the feature

to Buzzfeed
which first broke the news.

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s co-founder and chief executive, confirmed the
feature through a tweet:


This feature, albeit similar to Facebook’s own method of tidying up the
newsfeed, is the latest news-centric Twitter tweak, joining the likes of
live news broadcasts and its

journalist-focused ‘explore’ tab
. reported:

There are a couple of things worth noting about this new feature. For one,
it prevents users from seeing the same link shared multiple times
throughout their timeline, instead grouping it all under one central
heading. On the other hand, this means Twitter is moving farther away from
a chronological feed, much like other social networks.


The idea really is an engagement play. Users see the news and clicks (or
doesn’t) but it now takes them less time than scrolling past multiple
tweets that reference the same thing – a smart move for time-poor users.
Users still have the same amount of time for each Twitter visit but now
more of that time can be spent looking at ads, content users want to search
for and other content Twitter wants to push to you. The curation element
has been lacking for some time in Twitter (Moments aside). The new feature
could add more social proof to proceedings and offer people a way of
garnering value, importance or grandeur of the situation.

The move is another effort by Twitter to attract new users and increase
activity on its platform, thereby boosting its attractiveness to
advertising partners. However, what takeaways does this announcement give
to PR and marketing pros?

Take advantage of the power of video—regardless of resources orbudget]

Twitter as a news platform

First, communicators of all stripes should note Twitter’s increased focus
on being a news app, not simply another social media platform.


Twitter started grouping together tweets about ongoing events back when it
launched ”

Happening Now
.” It only applied to sports topics in the beginning, but this new feature
and the one that pushes trending tweets by news organizations to the top of
your feed are probably part of its expansion.


Over the past two years, Twitter has made a relentless push into news,
seizing on it as an identity it had long lacked.

The company first

 from the “social networking” to the “news” category of the app store in
April 2016. Now, it airs

live news broadcasts
 alongside the home timeline; it’s showcasing news and tweets from
journalists in its “explore” tab; and it’s

experimenting with curated timelines
 around breaking news events. This new feature will further support that


… News is a key part of twitter’s formula and future. This move is a good
indication that Twitter is staying serious about being a news source and
more moves in this arena are expected. Twitter beat Q1 estimates with
revenue of $665M (up 21% YoY), vs. $605.9M est. Revenue increased 21
percent, the biggest jump in two years. Activity is up too; DAUs are up 10%
YoY; MAUs up 3% YoY to 336M vs. 334.2M est. While monthly active users 3
percent rise may not seem like a lot compared to other platform numbers and

 is a different kind of product and is used a lot outside.

How communicators can take advantage

Breaking news and news features might be the way that Twitter sustains
itself in the changing social media ecosystem, but brand managers would do
well to consider that the news focus means increased opportunities for
media relations success.

Journalists are Twitter’s largest, most active verified group, and a 2017 Muck Rack survey of reporters revealed that
72 percent track how often their stories are shared online. That means publications as well as its staff are using Twitter to
increase their stories’ reach and garner more clicks.

However, brand managers shouldn’t forget that articles are not the only way
to reach audiences via social media.

Though this feature seems geared toward wooing marketers, the company said
that its video ads are a huge source of marketing revenue. The feature,
offered to brand managers through promoted posts, pre-roll ads before
publishing partners’ videos and sponsorships with its live video shows,
generate more than half of Twitter’s ad revenue.


Now video ads don’t just generate a lot of money for Twitter, they generate
the majority of the company’s advertising revenue. Twitter said
this week that video ad revenue

makes up more than 50 percent of its ad revenue, something that actually happened in Q4 but was only made public this week
as part of Q1 earnings.

That means

Twitter made a minimum of $287 million on video ads
 last quarter. Even though Twitter is often considered a distant third in
the social video space behind YouTube and Facebook (maybe even fourth
behind Snapchat), video ads have clearly become very important to Twitter’s
business. You’ll hear a lot about that this week when the company

presents all of the video shows and projects it wants to create
 to media buyers on Monday at the NewFronts.

Lastly, communicators shouldn’t look to any one platform as the silver
bullet for digital marketing and PR campaigns—or think that their
organizations and clients must be on all of them.

Considering where your audience resides is a crucial consideration to
whether or not you should invest time and money building a presence on a
particular platform. Keep in mind users’ discontent with platform updates,
as well.
Many users criticized the new Twitter feature, and
user growth has stalled. Other platforms, such as Snapchat, are
seeking to make amends with power users that have sworn off new interfaces and updates.

How will the latest changes on Twitter influence your social media
strategy? Will you make a bigger investment in the future?

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