A team at Twitter began to test a new feature, code-named Project Lightning, during Twitter’s hack week in January, a platform for engineers to experiment with new ideas. Last week, Twitter unveiled “Moments” a long-awaited feature that presents a slimmed-down version of the social media service for those looking to follow a specific topic and event, especially those users who are easily overwhelmed by the volume of tweets in a typical timeline. Moments curates the day’s most talked-about stories in a new section of the app. It reveals the videos, photos, and tweets behind news stories and events as they unfold.
Moments are currently curated by an editorial team at Twitter and a few launch partners including The New York Times, BuzzFeed and Major League Baseball. This gives Twitter a significant amount of editorial power as the team looks at which tweets are being shared, embedded and interacted with to determine which content is relevant. In this age of never-ending Internet, Twitter can see when users are interested in a Moments topic enough to scroll to the end.
But what does Moments mean for business?
Betsy Page Sigman, Professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, recently weighed in on Moments for International Business Times explaining how Moments addresses a fundamental behavior of Twitter users. “Users want to know what’s happening, and they want to see it now,” said Sigman. Moments sits in the center of Twitter’s navigation bar via the new lightning bolt icon and was rolled out with fanfare the day after Jack Dorsey became CEO.
Twitter has faced slowed growth of recent years which many analysts say has much less do to with the current state of the product (Moments and promoted Moments excluded) and more to do with user psychology. Each “pull to refresh” hits users with an abundance of news depending on who they follow and what is trending on Twitter. Moments provides a systematic, streamlined information flow. “They needed to master the right time discounting,” explained Sigman. “Don’t make people do the hashtag search.” Moments is big news for Twitter as the platform looks to grow, but what does it mean for businesses and brands?
It could mean more streamlined Twitter ad options for advertisers who are consistently looking for ways to better leverage Twitter and increase visibility. Moments initially debuted without ads, but that won’t be the case for long. Promoted Moments are soon to become a reality.
Moments are crafted in a way to give businesses and brands the opportunity to share a more complete Twitter narrative. Each promoted moment will be ephemeral, lasting up to 24 hours and constantly updated. Initially, Twitter plans to run one promoted Moment a day, but marketing and advertising gurus predict that the number will likely increase. Promoted Moments will include an array of topics, including real-time events and relevant stories, as well as authentic narratives around a brand’s value.
This is the first major change to the platform since Dorsey took the reins. Twitter, for some time now, has been searching for firmer ground on which to secure its future, and with its shiny new feature and Dorsey, this could be Twitter’s big moment.