I've always been a little fascinated as to how much people actually care about this, but either way, Twitter has announced a new option which will enable brands to purchase Custom Hearts for their Periscope videos.
Custom Hearts are exactly as they sound - rather than the generic Periscope hearts that float up on screen during a broadcast, brands will be able to create their own, campaign-specific logos and icons for people to apply during the broadcast.
Here are some examples of how they look in practice:
From left: a Custom Heart promoting the latest Fast and the Furious film, an example of the Super Bowl-themed hearts and one from The Australian Open.
As explained by Twitter:
"Periscope hearts are unique to the live video experience on Twitter and Periscope and allow anyone in the audience to engage and show support for the broadcaster by tapping to send hearts. Now, via Custom Hearts, Periscope hearts can be tailored to a brand's campaign, opening up an organic way for branded content to be present throughout a live experience. Custom Hearts are present throughout the entire video and are sent by the audience by tapping the screen, giving brands an opportunity to capture a high number of engagements and allowing people to express their enthusiasm for the content while amplifying the brand's message."
Notice that there's no data on how Custom Hearts increase view counts or video effectiveness, nothing saying 'our data shows videos with Custom Hearts see X times more engagement'? That's because I'd suspect such data doesn't exist - sure, they're kind of interesting, and there'd be a novelty value there, but that would also likely wear off after the first heart. But then again, building brand awareness is about utilizing multiple touchpoints. Maybe, branded hearts can form another element in enhancing connection.
Custom Hearts are activated by using a specific hashtag in the broadcast's title - when your business or another user creates a broadcast using the relevant hashtag, the custom hearts will be active and will appear intermittently in between the regular heart icons.
Twitter notes that Custom Hearts can be used alone or combined with pre-roll ads in brand sponsorships of broadcasts, though there doesn't appear to be any additional functionality to such a tie in - you would only be boosting your message by utilizing a combination of pre-roll ads and Custom Hearts within a single stream.
Twitter has also declined to specify how much Custom Hearts campaigns will cost - if you're interested, Custom Hearts are available to selected advertisers through custom Amplify packages. You can contact your Twitter representative for more info.
Will they add much to Twitter's ongoing quest to find revenue potential - particularly in live video content? Time will tell.