Twitter’s major new design includes brand pages

9 Dec 2011

Twitter has developed an entirely new version with simpler design and the ability to connect much easier with others. In addition, Twitter has ramped up its monetisation strategy with the creation of brand pages for advertisers.

The new design and range of capabilities – including embeddable tweets – will manifest themselves across mobile and web. The new design will be rolled out in the coming weeks.

TweetDeck has also been glammed up to be consistent with the new shape of Twitter.

Four new tabs

The design features four key areas that will dominate the shape of Twitter going forward:

·        ‘Home’, where tweets from people you have chosen to follow will appear

·        The ‘Connect Station’, for seeing who has followed or mentioned you and join the conversation and act on interactions

·         ‘Discover’ lets users tap into customised information streams based on location and what is going on in the world

·         The ‘Me’ tab is a new profile section that allows users to develop a richer profile than just the few words and picture that has existed to date

Twitter tabs


As part of the redesign, Twitter has introduced enhanced profile or ‘brand’ pages that in its own words allows marketers to create “an even more compelling destination on Twitter for their brands.”

The new brand pages allow advertisers to control the messages visitors see when they visit the pages and gives marketers greater flexibility in terms of highlighting particular content, such as expanding on particular promoted tweets.

Photos and videos can also be expanded on the brand pages.

Major brands that have signed up to start using the new promoted pages include Intel, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Dell, HP, JetBlue, McDonald’s, Best Buy, Bing and American Express.

Embeddable tweets

Twitter has also come up with an interesting new way of bringing tweets to various websites.

Embeddable tweets are dynamic media that allows users to add a particular tweet to their website by copying and pasting a line of code.

Readers can then follow the author of that tweet, retweet, or favourite it without leaving whatever page they are on.

Has Twitter become more like Facebook?

That seems to be the conclusion that a lot of media are drawing and while there are similarities in terms of greater sharing and profiling capabilities, I think this is the culmination of a lot of work at Twitter to strike out on its own and control its own destiny.

It has looked inside itself, studied its capabilities and has come up with a dynamic set of services that will only enhance its unique character and offering.

It is also addressing problems that, in my opinion, don’t help it to grow its user base as fast as it would like. Facebook and LinkedIn sometime resemble rambling country lanes compared to the high-speed, high-octane flow of information and often users, myself included, struggle to get a sense of context, or join in the conversation. Unless you have nothing else to do and are glued to your screen, sometimes context flies out the window when you arrive at Twitter and get a sense of direction.

Twitter appears to be aware of this boundary and if anything is attempting to help users make sense of the mass of information.

The embeddable tweets function, however, is a bold strike in a new direction – the power to just put a tweet on any web page and keep the dynamic ability to favourite, retweet or follow the author. This is definitely something that will make Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+, not to mention all the many other me-too social sites, including the multitude of photo-sharing apps, sit up and pay attention. In doing the embeddable tweets thing, Twitter has set a new standard.

But the bigger question is, will the monetisation strategy work? Judging by the brands that have so far signed up, it looks like it will. Promoted tweets on their own just aren’t enough and brands need to have a sense of control amid the constantly buzzing traffic. Picture, if you will, Twitter’s brand pages existing as highly visible traffic islands or service stations amid the ebb and flow of tweets and conversations.

For a long time, people have wondered how Twitter will monetise and drive its audience to levels that will reach Facebook’s proportions – Twitter has 300m users while Facebook is hurtling towards 1bn – and it’s likely Twitter has found its answer.

How will Twitter’s new features stack up against Facebook’s Timeline? I consider this new set of capabilities a just-in-time intervention in that it modernises Twitter for a dynamic new age and opens the door for an interesting opportunity for app creators to brainstorm and bring apps into the Twitterverse rather than just developing reader apps.

Simply put, it’s a platform for the future.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years