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Twitter working on camera-first feature to attract advertisers

Twitter

Twitter is working on a camera-first feature that will combine location-based photos and videos with “Twitter Moments”, a report by CNBC has revealed. This move is likely to make the platform more visual- than text-centric, building competition against Snapchat for advertising revenue.

The product is in an early stage of development, without a specific launch date.

Quoting unnamed officials, the CNBC report said that companies could sponsor events or place ads in between tweeted real-time photos and videos. The feature is similar to Snapchat’s location-based posts around specific topics, highlighted under the Discover tab.

This seems to be in line with Twitter’s decision to invest in products that increase audience engagement, which will cause expenses to “more closely align with revenues”. This was revealed by its Chief Financial Officer Ned Segal while announcing its quarterly results in February.

At the time, CEO Jack Dorsey had said that Twitter will be doing more experimentation to make its timeline more “personalized and relevant” to people. There will be “a much more cohesive strategy” around events, like seeing sports scores during live games, Dorsey said. The social media platform has also partnered with NFL games to deliver live programming.

Notably, last quarter (Q4 2017) was big for Twitter, as it finally registered a profit after 12 years of being operational. The company laid off 9% of its workforce in late 2016, and then sold off its developer business and shut down its video app Vine in its push to become profitable. Last year, Twitter increased the character limit of a tweet to 280, which according to the company, has increased engagement and minimized confusion.

Competition

Facebook is focusing more on personalised content in its feed, highlighting friends’ posts over those by businesses or media pages. This gives Twitter a chance to attract advertisers. Snapchat too has received backlash after it redesigned its app. Celebrity Kylie Jenner, who is one of the biggest influencers on Snapchat, even said that she does not use the app anymore. This led to a fall in company’s market value by 6% overnight. With millions of users being unhappy with Snapchat’s changes, Twitter’s new feature may capitalise on this and add to its user base that has remained stagnant in the past two quarters.

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