7 Important Twitter Updates You Might Have Missed
The big blue bird of social media has been pretty busy lately, and it has made some major changes that have affected (or will affect) how people use the service. Whether you’re a marketer, a developer, or just a typical Twitter member, be sure to keep yourself abreast with these updates as they will most likely change how you consume and post information on Twitter.
This post will give you a rundown of the latest important updates that the microblogging site has implemented. If you’re a Twitter user, be sure to check them out and see how they affect you and your audience.
The Header Image Update – It looks like the idea of cover images is really catching fire on the Internet. First, Facebook redesigned member profiles by requiring people to include a cover photo at the top. Not long after that, Google+ added a similar element into its profile pages. Now, it’s Twitter’s turn to join the cover image trend.
Last week, the microblogging site published a post informing users of a “design enhancement to profile pages.” Twitter announced that people can now upload a cover photo in their profile. According to the post:
All Twitter users can feature a new header photo on their profile pages that will appear across mobile and desktop. Simply upload a custom image or select a pre-loaded theme in the design tab within your settings page. For advertising partners with an enhanced profile page (EPP), this new header image replaces the EPP banner. However, these advertisers will still be able to pin Tweets at the top of their timelines to spotlight their most important or timely content.
Including a cover image to your profile is pretty simple. Just go to the Setting page on Twitter, select “Design” and head to the section for customizing your cover image. For best results, the service recommends that you upload an image with dimensions of 1252 x 626. The cover photo will appear at the top of your Twitter profile, and will serve as the backdrop for your photo and bio.
According to Twitter, “profiles without updated header images will be replaced with a default grey image” in November, which means you still have a bit of time to select a header.
The Profile Background Update – Twitter is also giving users more freedom with their profile background. In line with the redesign, you now have “the flexibility to align the image and, therefore, use both left and right side of the background image to display rich, engaging content.”
The Photos Module Update – Twitter also enhanced the photo module on the profile page, and it now displays the 6 most recent images that a user has shared.
The Mobile-Friendly Update – It’s important to note that Twitter’s redesign also applies to mobile devices. According to Twitter, the new design “will be visible on twitter.com and, for the first time, on iPad, iPhone and Android. Now marketers can instantly engage Twitter users with rich images while creating a more consistent visual identity across devices.”
The Geo-Targeting Update – Twitter isn’t just focusing on updating the visual aspects of its site. Earlier this month, the service also announced an update to their geo-targeting system that would allow marketers to be more specific with regards to targeting users at particular locations.
According to their official blog post:
To help marketers reach relevant audiences around the globe with ever-greater precision, today we’re unveiling some enhancements to our geo-targeting capabilities for Promoted Tweets and Promoted Accounts.
If you are looking to reach users in the UK and Japan, you will now find additional location options to target — including UK regions and major metropolitan areas, and several major areas in Japan such as the Tokyo region (Kanto), Osaka area (Kinki) and Nagoya area (Chubhu). In addition, we have added US states.
This is a big boon for brands that are trying to reach specific audiences around the world. Thanks to this geo-targeting update, businesses will be able to target promoted tweets to specific areas. For instance, if you have a promotion specifically for your customers in Tokyo, you can now use Twitter’s Promoted Tweets to spread the word out specifically in that city.
Moreover, this feature is also especially useful for marketers trying to gain more followers from a specific location. Want to promote your account particularly to people that live in Manchester and London? Now you can, thanks to geo-targeted account promotion.
The Interest Targeting Update – Prior to updating its geo-targeting capabilities, Twitter unveiled its interest targeting feature, which allows marketers to promote tweets and accounts to a set of interests. According to the microblogging site, “By targeting people’s topical interests, you will be able to connect with a greater number of users and deliver tailored messages to people who are more likely to engage with your Tweets. When people discover offers and messages about the things they care about on Twitter, it’s good for both marketers and users.”
Twitter lets you use interest targeting in two ways. First, you will able to target people by choosing specific topics. Twitter provides over 350 interest categories, so you’re bound to find something that relates to your business.
The second way to use interest targeting is by creating “custom segments by specifying certain @usernames that are relevant to the product, event or initiative you are looking to promote.” Do note that “Custom segments let you reach users with similar interests to that @username’s followers; they do not let you specifically target the followers of that @username.”
The API Update – Earlier this year, Twitter started yanking access from particular third-party apps that are accessing their API. In June, Twitter pulled LinkedIn’s access so users were no long able to share their Tweets on LinkedIn. After cutting off LinkedIn, Twitter moved on to Instagram, and as an effect, users of the photo sharing app were no longer able to find their Twitter friends. A similar move was made with Tumblr, when Twitter restricted Tumblr users to find their friends on Twitter.
Twitter cutting off third-party app access can spell bad news for users, developers, and marketers alike. Most developers depend on the service to spread the word about their app and gain more members. Marketers and users on the other hand often use third party apps to view and share tweets, so Twitter cutting off developer access can decrease users’ ability to share and consume content.
Image credit: shawncampbell on Flickr