Scarcely does a day go by when one of the big social platforms doesn’t change something!
Normally it’s an invisible change – an update to an algorithm, or an ad product only us marketers would notice.
However, Twitter have recently done away with everyone’s background image.
They can still be spotted when you click through the date stamp to view a tweet individually, but they’ve vanished from home, profile and notification pages.
As Econsultancy points out, the real estate either side of the twitter feed could soon be reclaimed by the platform for native ads.
The evidence looks strong that Twitter could make a move on the empty space in front of your background image to increase their revenue through efficient and effectively targeted rich-media ads.
Considering today’s announcement that Instagram is expected to overtake Google and Twitter for display ad revenue, this would give Twitter a tool to tackle Facebook’s increasing grip on the paid social scene.
So perhaps the background image will return, once the social network has revamped its sidebar ad products and we know what space we’ve got left to play around in.
What’s In An Image?
They’re flat, static, and can’t be clicked through, so what good is a background image anyway?
Well, as beautiful as white space can be, the desktop view of twitter has rather a lot of the stuff.
For our clients, we use this space for a variety of reasons.
For our friends at Gumtree, we’ve balanced the branding of the recent integrated campaign with URLs for the brand’s other social channels and email addresses to other departments.
This saves time addressing queries, means that people can find this info out-of-hours, and allows us to concentrate our community management on engaging audiences with exciting brand experiences.
England Rugby Travel
For England Rugby Travel, we’ve used the background image to include a call-to-action, as well as to subtly remind audiences of the correct @handle (in case people mistakingly use @englandrugbytravel).
With Curvy Kate, however, we’ve stuck to their clean and tidy branding, with a recognisable piece of artwork against a monotone pink colour. It focuses attention on the content, while reinforcing the personality of the brand.
Not one of ours, the in-house Xbox support team over at Microsoft have used their background image to provide users with a key – explaining the Tweet signatures so they know which member of the team they’re chatting to. we love this, as it provides a human side to a digital customer service setup, while saving vital characters in each reply from Xbox.
Take a look at their header image and you’ll see gamertag images for each of the team, a cool touch that reminds complainers that they’re talking to fellow gamers.
Over To You
What do you think? Why has Twitter removed background images, and what might replace them?