Twitter's confusing approach to Moments continues, with the news that the micro-blog giant will soon announce full-screen, vertical video ads within Moments, their tool which was originally intended to make Twitter easier to understand for the masses.
As reported by Mashable, a Twitter team member outlined the new Moments ads at an event in Dubai this week.
As you can see in the image, Moments ads will appear as 'full-screen Vertical Video' interstitials within Moments, much like Snapchat and Instagram Stories ad content.
The addition makes sense, particularly as Twitter puts more focus on video, but as noted, Twitter's approach to Moments has been a little confusing. Is it a crucial element of the Twitter experience or not?
Last September, Twitter opened up Moments to all users, giving everyone the capacity to create their own engaging, full-screen story-like streams of Twitter content. Which is a good move, except it came almost a year after the option was first released, which likely reduced adoption, as people were limited the curated Moments, most of which had no direct connection to their interests.
But no matter, Twitter could still recover this, Moments could still become a key element of the process - I mean, expanded stories are becoming a bigger part of the social media landscape, as demonstrated by the popularity of Snapchat Stories and Facebook's subsequent duplicates. Moments could become Twitter's 'Stories', and now everyone can make their own and have them featured on the Moments tab.
Except, a few months later, Twitter replaced the Moments tab with the new 'Explore' option, which incorporates Moments, but effectively de-emphasizes the tool.
So what gives?
The up and down emphasis on Moments has made it hard to know whether it's worth the effort - there are some great examples available of how Moments can be used to share tweet content in a more immersive, narrative-driven way. But thus far, there's been few usage stats released by Twitter on Moments use, which likely suggests that they're not getting a heap of traffic.
So will Moments ads be effective?
And then, of course, there's the debate about vertical video itself, and whether this should even be used as an option. Social Media Today has published a few posts on this subject, and each one is met with fierce debate in the comments on social, with many creators basically furious that this would even be proposed as a suggestion. For video creators, vertical content means a depreciation in quality, as you need to make compromises to present the content in the longer, stretch format. Many seem to believe that we should 're-educate' users as to the 'correct viewing orientation', as opposed to catering to user behaviors and making a creative compromise.
Which seems an odd argument - "If you don't appreciate this, people who we need to watch our content, then you're wrong, and you need to adjust your expectations."
It seems that aligning with what viewers are more commonly engaging with is the better option, though the compromise in this case may be difficult to accommodate. There's no right answer of course, but it's worth monitoring your own audience metrics and experimenting to see what generates the best response from those you want to connect with.
But subsidiary concerns aside, Moments video ads provides another consideration, though I suspect Twitter will need to produce some fairly compelling usage stats if they want to see good take-up. But again, it may be worth experimenting with - there are brands who are seeing good response to Moments content, and for them, the addition of video could deliver great results.