No, we think Twitter is trying to get the attention of big brand advertisers for a whole new way for them to drop big bucks on the site. One word: hashtags.
Based on what we’ve heard, we’re pretty sure the ad Twitter just ran on TNT during today’s Nascar race is all about calling their attention to a revamped page displaying search results for a topical keyword—a hashtag, in Twitter parlance.
Earlier this week, we heard from a source close to the company that Twitter was planning to do something big to improve its search results.
Right now, Twitter hashtags take users to a plain-jane search results page. They’re hard to navigate and hard to advertise on. At most, an advertiser can pay to promote a tweet or an account to follow and put that at the top of the page.
Omid Ashtari, Twitter’s head of sports, mentioned on the company blog on Thursday that it was going to roll out a new hashtag page for the Nascar race. He called it an “experiment.”
But Ashtari didn’t mention that it was planning to run a television ad promoting the page, or the brand-new URL format it’s rolling out to direct people to it:
The #nascar hashtag page is topped with a big Nascar logo and lined with photos pulled from tweets. There’s also a prominent space given for Twitter accounts to follow.
Images from tweets and accounts to follow also appear on the old search-results page as well, but the new hashtag page is a far better showcase.
Bottom line: We don’t think this is an experiment as much as it is a harbinger for how Twitter is going to revamp its site to be a far better showcase for advertising.
(By the way, we think it’s a better experience for consumers, too. The old search-results pages were as user-unfriendly as they were unhelpful to advertisers. So this is a good example of how Twitter’s big reorg of its products team is already bearing fruit.)