Has Twitter’s Moment Arrived?

Twitter has always been something of the Stephen Fry of the social media landscape.

To some, fascinatingly full of facts and fun. To others, un-relatable and a bit of a mystery.

However well that comparison may work, it’s indisputable that the network has had a bit of a rough time recently. Falling user numbers, dropping share prices, staff layoffs, the removal of the CEO and polarisation over the 140-character limit have dogged it’s development, whilst rivals such as Snapchat and Instagram have made strides.

So it’s a breath of fresh air that they have taken a bold step in introducing Twitter Moments.

Essentially, the Moments feature generates a feed for a particular story that is occurring at that particular time and curates the best posts into a customised story. Sounds familiar right?

What differentiates Moments from a current trend is the user experience, with a navigation tab split into categories, and within these, feeds for the individual events or stories.

Further to this, Moments goes some way to simplify the user experience, something that has dogged the ‘on boarding’ experience of new users. Moments is much more visual, with imagery and video that fills the mobile screen, overlaid share buttons, and a swipe to the right function to take you to the next post.

In addition to imagery, short-form video content as well as GIFs and Vines feel like the natural formats for the feature, which raises the question of user-generated content of rights protected events. As the ownership of digital broadcasting rights continues to build speed, this may become a bit of a cloudy issue.

What is clear is that live sport will feature significantly. The navigation tab features the categories ‘entertainment’, ‘fun’, ‘today’, ‘news’ and of course, ‘sport’.

With live sport attracting the most voluminous conversations on the platform, the potential of Moments with it’s updated visual experience already feels like a game changer.

The platform has announced that Moments will consist of the best tweets around a particular event or story, curated by editorial teams at Twitter. This enhances the opportunities for rights holders and sponsors to join a conversation, follow a trend, or most importantly, contribute to telling that story.

Whether those with the rights to sporting events will be given preferential positioning is an interesting debate, but my money is on Twitter letting the story tell it self through the best content, irrespective of commercial involvement.

As always, the challenge for sponsors and brands will be to find a way to add value to the conversation whilst competing against more trusted sources. The smart money is on a ‘quality over quantity’ approach, which blends contextual content with brand storytelling that naturally adds a distinct, yet compelling voice to the Moment.

As is currently the case with Twitter, editorial teams must be nimble in generating content reactively, but success will also come through anticipating sub plots and specific events within the Moment.

This is where sponsors can actually dictate the conversation through owned activations that can be shared by spectators and fans, as well as ensure that ambassador and influences are adding their advocacy, generating earned reach and a greater presence in the Moment.

A great example of this approach that we’ve done at brand rapport was the renaming of Canada Water tube station to ‘Buxton Water’ during the London Marathon 2015.

This gave the brand a salient voice that was distinct from the reporting of what was happening on the course, but relevant to both the event and the spectators’ experience.

In addition to this, Twitter are bound to have created a suite of ad formats available for brands to ensure they have a presence within the Moment, which when targeted effectively, could reap rewards.

But, like Instagram, who have been very careful to ensure that promoted branded content doesn’t affect the aesthetic and upset the user experience, Twitter should think likewise and ensure that quality control is exercised so that branded presence feels natural.

Moments is currently only available in the US, where the company are working with a select few media partners which include Bleacher Report, Buzzfeed, Entertainment Weekly, Fox News, Getty Images, Mashable, MLB, NASA, New York Times, Vogue and the Washington Post.

The feature is set to launch soon in the UK, where we await in anticipation.

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