Twitter opens Moments to brands, creating a storytelling opportunity

Brands can also work with influencers to develop moments, say experts.

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter’s decision to open up Moments, its often-overlooked aggregation feature, is an opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in a more focused way and a chance for the platform to catch up with other social networks such as Instagram.

With the expansion of Moments, Twitter may be hoping to ramp up and engage its active user base, which sits at about 313 million per month, and better compete with other social giants such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat in terms of one-to-one messaging.

"Certainly Twitter is falling behind with Snapchat and the way they’re connecting with consumers," said Michael Brito, head of U.S. digital marketing at Lewis Pulse. "This is Twitter's reaction: providing their users with a more relevant experience outside of news and becoming more relevant with millennials and the next generation."

Twitter announced the change in a blog post Tuesday. The platform has been struggling to meet revenue expectations for the past year. The company has also reported slow user growth, with a year-over-year increase of only 3% since 2015.

"To date, Moments have been created by our curation team and a select group of publishing partners, but it's always been our goal to open up this creative canvas to more people," the company said in a blog post announcing the expansion.

Jeff Beringer, global practice leader for digital at Golin, speculated how Moments could be used in different situations. Brand Moments, he said, could be a place to showcase real tweets from customers beside products, to combine all of the relevant information in a crisis situation like a product recall, or to package together tried-and-true practices like Twitter chats or Q&As.

"The ability to group together content is an awesome brand-storytelling vehicle," he said. "Companies will start to look at Twitter not only as a vehicle for quick hit distribution, but a vehicle for longer storytelling."

Brands could also work with influencers to create moments, said Brito, which could help them relate to consumers.

"The whole idea of one-to-one messaging is coming back," Brito said. "Fundamentally, we relate to other people more than brands. Snapchat does it; Instagram does it; Whatsapp does it; but Twitter doesn’t have that yet."

There is also the possibility of sponsored or promoted Moments that would function much like promoted tweets already on the platform. Twitter experimented with sponsored Moments shortly after the feature launched in October.

"The complaint so many Twitter users have had is that it’s like drinking from the fire hose," Beringer said. "Moments make it easier for users to find what they're looking for, which is a problem Twitter has been trying to solve for a long time. If marketers are smart, they will get the Moment in front of an audience that is relevant to."

At launch, Twitter has extended the Moments feature to brands and influencers, such as Budweiser, Allure magazine, and activist DeRay Mckesson.

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