Unless you’ve been spending the last couple of months on ICQ or MySpace, you know that Twitter recently launched a massive new redesign for user profiles.
The update has transformed what have traditionally been understated, relatively simple, profiles into highly visual Facebook-esque profile pages.
A massive header image now dominates the top of each profile page that is coupled with a profile picture that has more than doubled in size.
Pertinent stats such as Tweets, photos/videos, following, followers and favourites sit underneath the header image.
Even the trusty profile timeline has received an update. Now, tweets that have received above-average numbers of re-tweets, favourites and @-replies swell in size to make them easier to find amongst a user’s less-frequently interacted with updates.
Needless to say, it’s a substantial update that has garnered much attention from the marketing community.
However, I can’t help but wonder if this update is just a precursor of a much bigger, more impactful Twitter update to come.
I can’t say that I’m aware of many people actually looking at profile pages on the platform, which leads me to think that there’s more at play here than just a nice visual update.
The latest stats I’ve seen indicate that somewhere in the neighbourhood of 60 percent of all tweets originate from third party applications. I recognize this doesn’t align 1:1 with profile views, but it does indicate that there are many people that don’t even use the official Twitter platform, thus reducing the opportunity for them to see fancy new profiles.
What I’m thinking is that Twitter has another, bigger update in store to drive more on-platform usage and more profile views.
When you think about it, this makes sense because the more people they have using the official platform, the greater opportunity they would have to expand their advertising network with new media placements and potential premium features.
If something along these lines comes to fruition, it wouldn’t be the first time that Twitter has introduced a new feature to create greater opportunity for revenue generation. A relatively recent example of this occurred directly before the Twitter IPO, when they introduced the feature allowing images to automatically appear in users’ feeds without the need to click a link. Sure, this is a great way to showcase images, but it also created a great deal of perceived value to advertisers that see those images as another opportunity to catch the attention of their targeted audience. And you’ve got to imagine that this would have led to incremental ad sales.
Anyway, I’ve got a few ideas for how Twitter could attract it’s user-base back to the official platform, how newly updated profiles play into this, and what the associated benefits might be, but frankly, they’re complete guesses, so for now I’ll keep them to myself.
It can be fun to speculate, however, so let me know what you think is really going on with these new Twitter profiles in the comments.