Published by on November 24, 2016

Twitter has been one of the largest social media platforms for a decade now, but their path to success has been tumultuous to say the least. There are a host of issues that have affected Twitter’s portfolio as a social media giant, ranging from overpriced stocks to a notable decline in growth. Worse still, their brand has recently come under fire for their poor countermeasures surrounding obscene content on their platform. All of these issues muddy the waters when it comes to predicting where Twitter will be in the next few years.

With that said, it does not look likely that these issues will dissuade many businesses from using Twitter. It is still a fantastic marketing tool and a truly unique way to interact with your audience. So, for the immediate future at least, Twitter won’t be going anywhere.

This blog post hopes to predict what Twitter is going to implement in 2017 that might quell the struggling social media giants downward spiral.

Live Streaming on Twitter

There is a lot of speculation surrounding what new features Twitter will roll out this coming year. One of the most likely implementations is live streaming, as they have already started streaming some sports broadcasts. Although Chief Operating Officer (COO) Adam Bain has recently confirmed his departure from Twitter by the new year, it appears he will be pushing for a more robust live streaming implementation before he leaves. His belief is that live streaming is the ‘pure embodiment’ of Twitter, in that it provides content in real-time.

It is highly likely that 2017 will see Twitter focus on live streaming content a lot more, which has been echoed at their #WhatsNext event. From a marketing perspective, this will open up a lot more doors for showcasing events through their platform. Twitter wants to take it further, though, by integrating Twitter feeds and TV channels to tailor advertising to each individual user.

Teaming up with television is an interesting take, but it will require a great deal of work for it to pay off. This is especially true thanks to direct competition in the form of Facebook Live. Periscope, Twitter’s side-app for live streaming, is a lot less popular than its Facebook rival. One prediction that is all-but-guaranteed to happen is the full merging and integration of Twitter and Periscope to remedy the drop in the latter’s popularity. Whether or not it will work remains to be seen, however.

Monetizing Data to Boost Paid Advertising

The other big social media channels, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, spent a great deal of effort this year into monetizing their private troves of data. Facebook have seen incredible success with their advertising network – which has netted the company billions of dollars so far. Similarly, LinkedIn is gearing up to make the most out of their own amassed data sets unique to them. It is highly likely that Twitter will be working towards capitalizing on their own data sets, too.

There is a problem, though. Twitter has always touted themselves as a completely transparent platform for information. This has been fantastic for many small businesses looking to profit through social media monitoring services, but it has severely hampered Twitter’s plans of monetizing their data sets. It is expected that they will try to glean better insights from their own data in a bid to push their paid advertising. There are a lot of other places Twitter could take this, from mapping out growing trends on their platform to offering up regional breakdowns of events being tweeted.

From a marketing perspective, these changes could make it harder to obtain organic traffic on Twitter, as was the case with Facebook a few years ago. By adjusting their algorithms and monetizing from their rich data sets, it is likely that Twitter will do everything they can to make paid advertising the most efficient way to generate traffic. Similar to how Facebook encourages you to ‘boost’ your advertising efforts by paying them, Twitter will likely follow along this trend in one form or another.

Edit your Tweets

This is a pipe-dream that has been floating around for some time now, but Twitter have flirted with the idea of a feature to edit tweets in the past. At the moment a tweet can only be deleted, which means that if you tweet in error you are forced to delete it and repost. This is good in the sense that it adds permanency to tweets. However, in marketing your initial impact is almost always the strongest, so the ability to fix an error has the potential to be incredibly useful.

It doesn’t take particularly long to find someone making a request for an edit button and just look at the support their tweet has received:

Augmented and Targeted Advertising

One of the biggest takeaways from Twitter’s #WhatsNext event was their three pillars of video advertising. Through the use of promoted videos, Twitter Amplify and targeted Twitter ads within ad breaks, they are looking to completely realign how advertising on Twitter is done.

Twitter’s targeted ads are particularly interesting in that they are already working with broadcast providers. Twitter has taken to streaming content offered by providers, then using the air time normally set aside for television ads to implement their own, targeted ads. This level of marketing is an incredibly fresh deviation from the traditional scattergun approach of television advertising. What’s more, marketing through Twitter will have the potential to be much more effective at reaching an incredibly specific audience.

Where will Twitter go Next?

It’s hard to know exactly what a big company like Twitter is going to do over the next twelve months. However, the movements of such a behemoth rarely go unnoticed, so it is safe to say that these predictions are, at the very least, plausible. Social media and digital marketing should be optimistic about the future of Twitter, for the most part. There is a lot of potentially game changing features that the social media giant could implement, such as targeted ads, editable tweets and live streaming.

With that said, marketing on Twitter might actually become more difficult, especially when it comes to organic traffic. As Twitter aims to make some more money out of their unique data sets, it would make sense for them to beef up the potential of their paid advertising. This could transform how marketing interacts with Twitter entirely, and not for the better.