Twitter’s new homepage might go down as one of the greatest examples of “rebranding” in recent years as it transforms the way first-time users interpret its purpose.
Twitter’s old homepage described itself as “a service for friends, family and co-workers to communicate and stay connected” through “quick, simple answers to one simple question: what are you doing?” The message inevitably evoked the common question, “Why would I want to do that?”
But its newest homepage delivers a new message: “See what people are saying about… (anything)” Twitter has reversed its role – from an ambiguous update tool people use to simply talk to the world, to a window people can look through to monitor what the world is saying about any keyword. Twitter has rebranded itself into the world’s first real-time conversation search engine.
This isn’t a new concept – Twitter’s search engine has always existed. But bringing its search function to the forefront gives first-time users a new way to experience Twitter, which also finally gives Twitter an opportunity to profit from its free service.
Just as Google and Bing bank off of search engine advertising, Twitter is now in the position to make money from keyword searches. But while the two search giants provide search results based on complicated algorithms, Twitter is unique because its search results are based on live conversation. This could eventually open doors to allow advertisers to buy advertising that coincide with current events.
Companies such as CBS Sports, Jocks Nitch and Nike could advertise on keywords that coincide with March Madness, the Super Bowl or other high-profile sporting events. Record labels could advertise on music-related keywords during album releases to promote sales. CNN, Fox News and NBC could advertise their coverage during momentous news events that spark mass Tweeting, such as the Iranian protests.
Twitter has not only demonstrated how its service can make money; it may have positioned itself to revolutionize the concept of advertising – allowing companies to buy advertising against real-time current events.