Twitter Brand Pages II: Brand Harder

September 26, 2012 3:13 pm

Twitter Brand Pages II: Brand Harder

At the beginning of the year, we looked at the new design for Twitter brand pages, which allowed a greater creative use of space for companies, increased advertising opportunities and easier means of communication with their followers.

We considered the implications of the new layout and assessed the opportunities it would present the brands. We found that:

  • Banner images worked well at directing users to content and worked well as advertising space and promoting brand identity
  • Promoted tweets worked well to reinforce and feature content
  • Users disliked pages that felt too corporate

In the last week, Twitter launched the new profile page design which is open to all users, not just to brands, and features a header image (similar to the Facebook Timeline ‘Cover image’), an increase in size and quantity of the ‘Recent images’ on the profile page and a tweaked layout to the page.

This article is also avalable as a PDF for download: Twitter Brand Pages II pdf version

With the launch of this new update, we have returned to our question of ‘How will this affect brands and their use of Twitter?’

We observed users looking at the Staples and Office Depot Twitter profile pages; Staples with the new layout and Office Depot with the current brand page layout.

The new layout

The new layout of the profile page proved popular with users, who felt it was an improvement on the current design. From our previous research, we found that users were primarily drawn to banner image and promoted tweet, paying little attention to the recent images or the brand biography. The new layout moves the recent images higher up the page, increasing their visibility to users and the new header image draws users into the page more quickly and encourages them to engage with the biography and company information.

“The [old] layout is a lot less interesting… the big image on the [new] layout immediately draws you in.”

Users also liked the alignment of the new design as they felt the page flowed better. On the current layout users commented that they did not like how they had to make a diagonal movement from the brand name and profile picture to the banner image and then on the tweets. Users preferred the new alignment that meant they could read the content quickly and vertically.

“It’s nicer to look at, probably because it is grouped as a block, whereas the information on Office Depot was stretched out.”

The Staples Twitter page before the new update

The Staples Twitter page after the new update

“It just seemed to give you a better immediate impression of what the business was about and what their reason for using Twitter was.”

Standing out and fitting in

While the chance to change to the new layout is completely optional, brands will have to ensure that their pages effortlessly reflect their product or company. As standard user profiles on Twitter will now have many of the same features as brands do on the new design it will important for the brands to stand out against Joe Bloggs.

Opportunities with the header image

The new header image allows for a greater degree of creativity for brands to play with on their Twitter profile page. While the previous banner image worked well as advertising space or for directing users towards the top pinned tweet – as they were separate from and lower down the page than the profile picture.

The new header images can be used in a similar way to the Facebook cover photos. Due to the combined positioning of the profile and header images the interplay between the two pictures can also be used to create an integrated picture or the header image can be used as a background to compliment a different profile picture.

Users commented that they preferred the layout of new header image in comparison to the old header banner. Users felt that it gave the brand profile page a greater sense of identity and were more drawn to reading the bio and engaging with the top of the page compared to the current design.

Ryan Seacrest has used the new header image and his profile picture to create an integrated picture

More recent photos

The increase in size and the addition of two more recent images (from four previously to six) on the left column of the profile page means that brands can show off 33% more of what they have recently posted to users browsing their page. With more tweeted pictures to draw users in this can be a very good way for brands to advertise the products and services and entice users to browse their back catalogue of images – which we found to be effective on the previous design of the brand pages.

We found that users were more drawn to new layout of the recent images and were more likely to click on them to explore the content.

Users tended to miss the recent images on the current brand page

On the new design, users engaged with the recent photos more easily

“Seemed bigger, they seemed more prominent.”

“I think the thumbnails are larger than on the other ones.”

Readability and visibility

One drawback to the new header image is that the profile picture, user’s name, Twitter handle, verified badge, bio, location and URL are all overlaid and centre aligned over it. This can lead to the cover image being obscured and making it difficult for users to see what is beneath the text.

Similarly, the white text can become obscured by the choice of header image. With no options available to aid brands, image/text contrast needs to be considered when choosing the right header image. This could also lead brands to greatly reduce their bio text, which could lead to users unfamiliar with the brands struggling to understand who they are.

The positioning of the text obscures the image on Advertising Age’s profile page

Consistency across platforms

The profile image and header image remain consistent on mobile phones despite different ratios

Ensuring a consistency between desktop, tablet and mobile devices will also be key for brands, particularly as the size ratio between the profile picture and cover image changes between the different mediums. This will be particularly important if the profile picture is intended to be integrated with the header image and form a complete image.

In summary

Overall, users responded positively to the new layout and the header image, commenting that they preferred it to the current layout. Users liked the header image as they felt it drew them into the page more quickly.

Users also noticed and engaged with the recent photos more on the new design than they did on the current page layout, as well as feeling the page followed better, in general, due to the new layout.

As long as brands approach the new layout with the creativity that they did with the last iteration, and bear in mind the potential issues with cross platform sizing and text and image layout, there is no reason why the new layout will not succeed in the same way Facebook’s Timeline cover images sparked creativity amongst brands.