Two Discovery Based Updates – Twitter and Instagram

One week ago Twitter launched two new product and place discovery tools with a number of partners, such as Nike, HBO – Game of Thrones and TechCrunch. The ‘Pages’ and ‘Collections’ are being tested and will appear in your timeline, depending on who you follow. Twitter said on its blog, “These pages will feature images and video about the product alongside information such as a description, price, and an option to buy, book, or visit the website for more information.”

Updates to Twitter and Instagram allow for better content discoveryThe collections are pages where related items are grouped. You can click through to read more about a single product, and from there you can easily send a prewritten (but editable) tweet about it or move to the brand’s store to make a purchase. For example, see Nike’s LeBron Elite collection here. While there seems to be a lot of clicks to get to a store you can visit directly, or from a direct link, it’s understandable why Twitter is trying to move into the social commerce arena. It was reported only this April that although the platform has over 300 million users, it is losing money.

If successful, I imagine brands will soon be able to create such pages and collections and display them as ads to their followers. This could be a very powerful tool indeed, but of course it relies on users to embrace the channel’s diversion from its simple 140 character output.

Instagram also has over 300 million users and it appears to still be riding the image crest. Its latest update is to its Explore function, with improved real-time results showing trending tags and places. In addition, curated collections have been added and will be updated regularly, for example, picture of ancient ruins, beaches and those from interesting accounts. The Places Search is also improved, meaning “you can now peer in at just about any location on earth, allowing you to scout out your next vacation spot in the South Pacific, get a look inside that hot new restaurant or experience your favorite music festival — even if you couldn’t make it this year”

For brands, this could mean an increase in creating ad-hoc trend posts is on the cards, but a great deal of resource would be needed. Location based businesses should ensure they make the most of the new places search as Instagram could be the app your next customer opens to see what’s available to them when out and about or planning a journey. Currently only available in the US, this roll out is one to watch for.

Lastly, an update that doesn’t have any implications for brands, and again isn’t yet available in the UK, but it’s worth a quick mention. Facebook has opened up its messaging app, Messenger, for use to those who don’t hold a Facebook account. It’s likely to try and lure in people to using Facebook as it tries to increase its 600 million monthly user base.

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