6 New Twitter Features For 2016

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Twitter has been actively rolling out new features this year in an attempt to combat it’s stagnant monthly active user growth and slowly falling revenue generated from those users. Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, has vowed to take action and implement new changes to help bring up Twitter’s popularity and user engagement.

Some of these changes are small and some are bigger but they all share to the same goal of improving the experience and bringing Twitter up to standard as a platform to share and post ideas.

#1. The Connect Tab

You may have noticed a new tab at the top of your feed called Connect. This is an all-new feature to help you find accounts to follow. It uses your follow list, where your located, and major events that are happening on Twitter to generate a list of follow recommendations.

In addition to the follow recommendations, users can now find friends by syncing their contacts from their phone’s address book.

Twitter claims that the Connect Tab will evolve over time based on your activity. It will also show why it’s recommending specific accounts. For example, if you follow a lot of hockey players then it’s likely going to suggest hockey players in your list.

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#2. Periscope’s Go Live Button

Ever since Twitter acquired its successful live streaming service, Periscope, it’s been looking for a way to easily integrate it into the Twitter platform. That has been accomplished with the ‘Go Live’ button. Live streaming videos receive 1,000% the engagement as traditional Twitter and Facebook posts.

The most valuable facet of this new feature is that it vastly expands the type of content businesses and content creators can use. For example, you can host a live Periscope event to promote or show off your business or its services and products. You can answer questions live from viewers instead of having to rely on the old fashion Twitter Q&A sessions.

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UPDATE: Since July, Twitter has rolled out the Go Live button service to all users.

#3. Media no longer counts toward your 140-character Tweet limit

In May, Twitter announced that it is expanding the number of items that you can post in a 140-character Tweet, without having it count toward your character limit. Perhaps the most noticeable change will be that uploaded images and videos will no longer count toward the length of a Tweet. This is excellent news for businesses that use Twitter to market their product. It leaves more room for text description while also being able to feature a media item.

In addition, replies and retweets have also been updated. Before you used to have to add a character before a reply if you wanted it to be seen by all followers (for example – .@username).

Lastly, users are now able to retweet their own content which can be helpful from a marketing perspective.

#4. Native GIF support

Native support for GIFs has been added by Twitter. The new feature includes a new GIF button on both Android and iOS apps as well as the Twitter.com website.

To post a GIF you simply need to press the GIF button which is located in the compose Tweet window. Once you press the button you can search for GIFs that best represent your Tweet. This feature is a welcome addition since you no longer need to reply on posting a link when you want to use a GIF. They can also be added to direct messages too.

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When searching for a GIF, you can browse categories of reactions such as a “high five” or “happy dance” to add life to your Tweets.

“So much can be expressed with GIFs, and the key is to find just the right one in the moment that quickly and efficiently expresses your emotions,” said Riffsy CEO David McIntosh.

#5. Twitter Polls

One of our favorite new features of 2016 are Twitter polls. Back before this feature was implemented people still ran polls on Twitter, but they had to rely on the retweet and hashtag mechanism to count votes.

Twitter polls are a much more effective and modern way of running polls.

User’s can now add a four-option poll to their Tweet to gather votes and info from their audience. This makes it incredibly powerful for businesses since you can quickly and easily gauge your customer base. Some ideas for this are polling for which product they prefer or a new feature you want to add to your website.

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How Twitter polls work
  • Once someone votes in the poll then they can view the results. After the poll is complete then the results will display publicly on your page.
  • Polls have a standard lifespan of 24 hours – this cannot be changed.
  • Poll choices are not shared publicly – meaning that no can see which option that you voted for
  • Poll choices are limited to 4 options

To create a poll you simply need to click the poll button which is located at the bottom of the compose Tweet window.

#6. Conversational Ads

In order to help increase advertising revenue, Twitter rolled out “Conversational Ads” in January of 2016. This new advertising methods allows advertisers to include a call to action button with their own customizable hashtags which helps increase customer engagement with your product or brand.

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When the call button is pressed, the Tweet window opens with a pre-populated brand message joined with innovative hashtag buttons. The user can then customize their Tweet and share it with his or her followers. Once the message is sent, as a thank you, the user receives a message from your brand for having directly engaged with the Tweet.

Once complete, the new Tweet appears to all of the user’s followers and includes your brand’s photo or video.

This is a useful advertising methods because it’s very high converting. Organic discussion about your brand or business delivers the most value for advertisers.

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