Twitter's Expanding Moments to Influencers, Brands - and Soon, Everyone
Twitter officially launched Moments ten months ago, after much speculation about the project, which was originally titled "Project Lightning". This was Twitter's big move, described at the time by Twitter execs as "a brand-new way to look at tweets," and "a bold change" in how the platform presents its content. Amidst growing investor unrest due to their declining user growth, Twitter felt like it had an answer in Moments - so much so that they ran their first ever TV ad campaign to promote the feature's release and placed the new option right, smack in the middle of the mobile home screen.
Essentially, Moments is a greatest hits package - you click on a Moment and it takes you to a curated, full-screen presentation of all the best tweets, Vines and Periscope videos related to that topic, as curated by a team within Twitter.
Shortly after launch, Twitter started also experimenting with sponsored moments, allowing certain brands to create and curate their own Moments.
And now Twitter's looking to expand Moments again, but this time to everyone.
As per an announcement on the official Twitter blog:
"Today, we're excited to announce that a broader group of creators will be making Moments, including influencers, partners, brands... and in the coming months, everyone. By extending this creative format to more people, and eventually to everyone on Twitter, we are giving people a new and dynamic way to tell their stories."
So, cool, right? Soon you'll be able to create your own Moments like the one above, focused on whatever you want. People will like that. Right?
It's hard to say whether opening up Moments will be a big thing or not - according to Twitter themselves, the introduction of Moments hasn't had a big impact. In their Q1 earnings announcement this year, Twitter noted that the introduction of Moments had driven a 6% increase in visitor time on site among non logged-in desktop users in the US, UK and Brazil. Which is something, but in that same period, user growth remained relatively stagnant - Twitter's only added 3 million new users in total since the launch of Moments. For perspective, Facebook, which is much larger and much closer to saturation point, has added four times that amount in the same period.
But then, of course, the focus of Moments wasn't necessarily only on Twitter users, the idea was to showcase Twitter's content to people not logged in to the platform, to highlight why Twitter is so great. On that front, the actual numbers are harder to quantify - Twitter says that time spent on platform for logged out users has increased, with around 3% more people now graduating into active users within 30 days of visiting. But again, those are not mind-blowing stats - the evidence would suggest that Moments hasn't been the game-changer Jack Dorsey and Co had hoped.
Given this, will opening up Moments to more users help? Would you be interested in creating your own Moment?
Twitter looks to be playing catch up on the latest social trend of 'stories', compiling several pieces of content into a longer narrative ala Snapchat, and now Instagram.
The growth and popularity of Stories on Snapchat - more than 50 million Snapchatters create unique Stories on the platform every day - provided the use case data, which then paved the way for Instagram to duplicate the function. With the expansion of Moments, Twitter appears to see similar potential. But Moments, for an individual at least, function quite differently to Stories, they're less user-focused and based on the wider conversation.
You could use Moments in a Stories format, no doubt, but the interface and options available within a Moments collections seems somewhat restrictive, given all the customization and ease of use options available on Snapchat and Instagram. Because of this, it may be harder for personal Moments to take off in the same way as Stories have - but then again, if you were to click on that Moments tab and see a listing of collections created by the people you follow, that would definitely make it a more interesting option.
If these were all Moments created by people I follow, I'd care more
It'll also give brands a whole new way to connect with their followers - of which, they likely have more on Twitter than they do on Snapchat or Instagram. I'd anticipate there being a lot of re-purposing here - brands will post Stories content on Snapchat, Instagram and to Twitter Moments, which expands the potential of your content efforts. Through Moments, too, you could also incorporate more user-generated content, in the form of tweets, to give your Stories more punch, or encourage engagement in order to shape the Moment and take the narrative in a difference direction, as guided by your audience.
While Moments clearly has a tangential relation to Stories in its narrative element, it does present some new and unique interactive options which could make it appealing for businesses.
Twitter remains the leading social media platform for real-time news and updates, a position that others have tried to emulate but have not (as yet) seen the same level of success. Where Twitter has fallen behind, however, is in personalization. With Facebook's algorithms becoming more attuned to our individual likes and interests, that's then raises the expectation for other platforms, and Twitter's working to catch up, but they still have some way to go on this front.
As such, the introduction of a more user-defined Moments feed, along with user-created Moments, is a step in the right direction. And really, there's not likely to be any one, big step Twitter can take to erase all its woes and become something new. It's going to be the accumulation of smaller steps that will amount to the whole.
The evolution of Moments is another of those small shifts.
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter