Twitter have released a major change to the Twitter profile design by introducing a header photo and placing more emphasis on the visual elements of Twitter. Twitter’s product manager, Sachin Agarwal, told users that the “new profiles also help you get to know people better through their pictures”.
With so many brands using Twitter as a key channel to engage, market and converse with their customers, the latest change to the profile design presents brands with a new problem/opportunity. With this in mind, we at ionSearch have created a quick overview of what brands need to know about the latest change:
Make use of the space!
The inclusion of a header photo is uncannily similar to Facebook’s cover photo and gives marketers a new space to work with in the profile. Previously, the background image has been used by brands and professionals to fit in further contact information, sales promotions or extended biographies (in order to get past the profile character limit). Having a customisable image at the top will almost certainly be more effective than in the background (which only appears around the sides of the timeline.)
‘Recent Photos’ get bigger
The new update also sees an increase in the number of “recent photos” shown on the profile. Previously, the old Twitter showed 4 images at about 62×62 pixels; the new update now shows 6 of your most recently tweeted images at a size of 90×90 pixels. This change means that brands need to give more thought to their image strategy on Twitter – perhaps this could become a bit of a shop window for products?
Get the right header size
So far it appears that the Twitter header photo size will be 520 x 260 pixels – this is a decent amount to play with.
Be creative with header photos
When Facebook first launched their cover photos, it led to a multitude of clever designs and uses that quickly became popular in the industry. It is very likely the same trend will continue with Twitter and we can expect the next few weeks to be dominated by creative, clever and imaginative ways of designing the Twitter header photo.
Difficulty to read
One problem the new header photo does present, is reading your profile biography. Depending on the colour of your photo, reading the text against a lighter image (or “busy” image) seems to be quite difficult. Previously, the Twitter profile biography was an important part of the experience and made it very easy to get a snapshot of the user. The priority shown to the header photo will almost definitely weaken the impact of the copy in the biography.
Is your website URL visible?
So far it seems that the standard text colour for the profile is white (though this might change) which means that spotting your website URL or other Twitter handles in your biography becomes more difficult. Whilst brands can put their URL into their new image, they can’t click the header photo and drive traffic to their site. It doesn’t mean that brands have suddenly lost their links; rather it has marginally made the link less visible – on Twitter.com at least.
Do you need to change your background image?
If a brand has invested some cash in producing a bespoke background then the new header might sit awkwardly on the page. Furthermore, it might present the problem of “brand over kill” and drown out the thing that is really most important for Twitter – your actual tweets! If you have a busy background with contact details and what not, it may be time to move to something a more basic in order to make your profile viewing experience less cluttered and overwhelming.
Consistency across platforms
A huge benefit of the update is that Twitter.com remains consistent with mobile and tablet devices – Twitter have strategically used this as an opportunity to launch their new iPad app – which means brands can make better use of visuals on mobile and tablet devices.