Brand Pages on Twitter: Hot or Not?

It’s just a couple months in and the jury’s still out on whether Twitter’s brand pages are worth the time and tweets. 

In December, Twitter launched a small grouping of brand pages. Twenty-one brands were selected because they already were distributing commercial content via the microblog platform. (Incidentally, here’s what the new Twitter design means for marketers and developers.)

The brand pages are said to now allow the companies a new format that would provide a difference between corporate and personal Twitter accounts. 

In addition to a brand-focused layout, the bells and whistles include a customizable header, placement of promoted tweets with expandable photos and video, and a more consistent user experience across platforms, including mobile devices.

Consumer research experts at SimpleUsability used special eyetracking technology to research the new brand pages. The team observed users looking at the layouts and features of four business pages: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Staples, and HP. 

By recording eye movements and actions online, SimpleUsability could see exactly what elements each user engaged with, was drawn to, and distracted by. The goal: To find how each brand rated in terms of new, interesting, compelling, and provocative content and measure the height of audience engagement.

It found Twitter brand pages will either succeed or fail depending on how well the company comes across and how effectively the page engages the user.

SimpleUsability’s early study also concluded:

  • Brand pages should be an invitation for users to learn more about the company and its products and should make users want to follow it to receive updates.
  • While pages should feature video and images that advertise the brand and products, they must be engaging and sensitive to the platform – too much of a corporate feel will deter users. The Coca-Cola brand page put more emphasis on advertising products through the use of header and background images. It featured its Christmas advertisement as the promoted tweet. But users liked that there was a video to play at the top of the page and were drawn in by it.
  • Competitions and promotions likely will entice users to explore the page and featured video and pictorial content instantly will engage the user.
  • If a brand page comes across as too sales heavy, it will not hold the user’s attention. Users preferred when they could see the more ‘human’ side to the brand, as with HP. This featured non-corporate looking photos and variety and integrity in its tweets. The HP page did not put a great deal of emphasis on advertising and it displayed/replied to tweets from followers including complaints.

But these fancy brand pages come with a small catch. 

The Next Web reported last month from AdAge that Twitter sent emails out to its top advertisers and announced that it will be adding more brand pages starting Feb. 1. 

“The only ask? That you already have $25,000 in Twitter’s ad ecosystem, be it for sponsored tweets or trending topics, just to be qualified,” The Next Web reports.

And how are the brand pages working out? 

JetBlue told Fast Company that its brand pages allowed for “honest dialogue” while offering a way to keep key messaging on top. A few weeks ago, JetBlue said its following hadn’t jumped significantly because of the brand pages, but that promoted tweets did see a higher amount of engagement.

Many companies also report similar findings because of the launch of Twitter brand pages around the holidays. 

Christine Cube is a media relations manager with PR Newswire and freelance writer. You can follow her @cpcube.


The Next Web 

Fast Company