Twitter has announced that it is going to beef up their search results and offer “older” tweets, though they have not exactly specified how far back the tweets will go, they have said that the tweet results will be based upon high engagement metrics (lots of retweets). As it stands now, search results in Twitter reveal tweets not more than a week old.
LinkedIn announced this week that they were experimenting with Sponsored Stories. Companies like Xerox and GE are testing the new ad format and it will be rolled out to everyone this year. Sponsored stories are a bit different on LinkedIn, however, as they are essentially repurposed organic updates that are pulled into an ad format. Research and other sponsored content will be used, as opposed to Facebook’s consumer-generated content format.
This begs the question: does a social network have to do everything to compete or can it stick to its niche? Take for instance, Twitter. The entire platform is dedicated to of-the-moment news and updates with a nano-second half-life. It thrives on its users’ FOMO (fear of missing out). So why is the platform insisting on offering up old tweets that, up until now, no one has minded losing? My feeling is that it is perhaps to capture the Facebook audience who looks lovingly upon their past posts and pictures on Timeline. But Twitter is a different platform with its own set of rules (example: it is perfectly fine to tweet three times in an hour; updating your Facebook status that often, not so much), which is why it has succeeded alongside Facebook.
Similarly, LinkedIn has begun rooting around for new ways to monetize the ads on its network. And while I understand how this goal aligns with their brand and platform better than Twitter’s, I still feel befuddled. It’s as if LinkedIn has not realized that it is vastly different than Facebook and Twitter. The CPC of LinkedIn ads is far more expensive than Facebook’s, and these (what I would call) premium ads may cost even more. Where are the studies about the ROAS of LinkedIn ads? There are plenty on Facebook (cheerleaders and naysayers alike). Are they looking for new ways to make money by serving up a new format or are they actively working to improve the quality of targeting and quality of user engagement? LinkedIn prides itself on being a network of professionals–the most affluent community on the web, yet I believe their ad platform is probably the most mystifying in the social sphere. They need new ways to leverage their professional audience into profitability for the advertisers, not new ways of packaging old Facebook ideas.
What do you think about these new social updates? Are these platforms losing their brand by trying to do too much?