After announcing the expansion of its Stories-like ‘Fleets’ option to users in Japan just last week, Twitter has quickly followed that up with a full roll-out of the function, with all users on iOS and Android to get access to Fleets over the next couple of days.
That thing you didn’t Tweet but wanted to but didn’t but got so close but then were like nah.
We have a place for that now—Fleets!
Rolling out to everyone starting today. pic.twitter.com/auQAHXZMfH
— Twitter (@Twitter) November 17, 2020
So now, you can create Stories on Twitter, with a dedicated tray of Stories – sorry – Fleets bubbles along the top of your news feed, where users can share updates that disappear after 24 hours within the app.
Which, while it is indeed a copy of Stories, Twitter says will fulfill a distinct need on the platform.
Apparently, according to Twitter, many people leave many tweets in their drafts, never to see the light of day.
“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation – it’s where you go to see what’s happening and talk about it. But some of you tell us that Tweeting is uncomfortable because it feels so public, so permanent, and like there’s so much pressure to rack up Retweets and Likes. That’s why, unfortunately, there are so many ???? Tweets left in drafts!”
Twitter product lead Kayvon Beykpour reiterated the same in his discussion of Fleets:
“Now, more than ever, we think it’s critical to provide people another way to share what’s on their mind; without feeling self-conscious about it lasting on the record, and without the pressure of public replies. Those Tweets that never got past “Drafts” can finally see the light!”
There certainly must be a lot of draft tweets taking up room on Twitter’s servers, because the company seems to believe that Fleets will fulfill this significant need, and provide a way for users to share their less popular thoughts in temporary form.
Which could be true, I guess. But really, it’s just Stories, all be it in a lesser form, more aligned to Twitter use.
So, what can you ‘Fleet’?
Your options are:
- Text fleets – Your basic Fleet is text on a colored background, with a range of color options for both
- Share tweets – Fleets provide a new way to share individual tweets, which also appear on a colored background
- Video or Photo – You can also post a video clip or a photo to your Fleet
That’s pretty much it. There are no special effects or AR tools for Fleets, though Twitter says that stickers and live broadcasting are coming soon.
Twitter has also been working on collaborative Fleets, which appear in the Fleets row as a double-bubble display.
That’s not available at launch, but it could, eventually, provide a range of new use cases for the format, including interviews, real-time highlights from events, GIF wars, etc. And for brands, it could be another way to boost your presence via influencers, partnering with well-known users to increase awareness and engagement.
As noted, that option is not available just yet, but it’s an indicator of the additional potential of the option, and there may be even more interesting use cases on the horizon, which we’re not seeing right away.
At launch, however, Fleets does seem a little limited. The lack of advanced creation functionality and effects tools puts it behind the other Stories options available, with the only real advantage being the top of feed presence in the app, which could help to generate interest and exposure.
That’s not to say that it should be dismissed – definitely, it’s worth experimenting with, and seeing how Twitter users respond. But as noted, it feels like a less interesting version of Stories right now, with not a heap to spark major interest or enthusiasm just yet.
That could change, and Twitter says that, thus far, where Fleets has been made available, users have been more open in sharing their thoughts via Fleet. So it could provide a new form of expression and openness on the platform – but it might take some time for Fleets to become a significant consideration. If it does take off.
And one last note for brands – if your DMs are open, anyone can reply to your Fleets. So if you’re looking to maximize your Fleet engagement, you may need to update your DM settings.
Fleets will be rolled out to all users ‘in the coming days’.
Snapchat Announces New Features for Snapchat+, Provides Insights on Snapchat+ Take-Up
Snapchat has announced some new additions to its Snapchat+ subscription offering, while it’s also shared some new insight into Snapchat+ take-up, which provides some more perspective on the potential of such options in the broader strategic scheme.
Snapchat+, which it launched in late June, enables Snap users to pay $3.99 per month to access a range of add-on elements including variable app icons, new data insights, and the capacity to pin a user in the app as ‘your #1 best friend’.
And now, Snap’s looking to sweeten the Snapchat+ deal, with subscribers now also able to access:
‘Priority Story Replies’, which makes your replies more visible to Snap Stars.
‘Post View Emoji’, through which you can pick a dedicated emoji that you want friends to see after they view your Snaps.
New Bitmoji Backgrounds including ‘gleaming gold’ and a beach paradise.
While there are also some new app icons thrown in for good measure, so you have even more ways to customize your Snap experience.
I mean, none of these are groundbreaking additions to the current offering. But even so, Snapchat+ clearly holds a level of appeal, with Snapchat also reporting that it now has over a million paying subscribers that have signed up to the option.
That’s an extra $4 million per month going straight into Snapchat’s coffers – so while it may not seem like an amazing, compelling package to casual users of the app, the numbers show that, even at marginal take-up (1 million subscribers equates to 0.29% of Snapchat’s active user base), such options can be significant earners for the apps themselves.
If they can get them right.
These latest features now give Snapchat+ subscribers access to 11 exclusive in-app features, which bests Twitter Blue’s 9 exclusive elements. Not that it’s a competition, because most of the people who are likely to pay for Snapchat+ are not going to be in the target market for Blue as well. But still, the two subscription elements provide an interesting parallel as to how these types of offerings can work – and indeed, if they actually do work in the broader scheme of things.
For example, it’s interesting to note the recent strategic variances for each, with Twitter recently increasing the price of Twitter Blue by 60%, despite adding no new features, and Snapchat announcing an India-only release of Snapchat+, at an 85% discount on the regular price.
Which strategy will work out best?
For Twitter, it’s likely upping the Blue price ahead of the addition of tweet editing, which looks close to launch, and which it probably expects to bring in a heap more paying subscribers, given that it’s the most requested social media feature in history.
Snapchat, meanwhile, is going for volume, and making its app more sticky in the Indian market, which could expand its usage in what’s now its biggest single biggest market, at 144 million Indian users.
Though when, exactly, those glasses might be coming could be further off than anticipated, given Snap’s recent spending reduction measures as a result of the broader downturn in the digital ads market.
But then again, what if Snap, which now has a huge and growing Indian presence, were to partner with Apple on its AR glasses, as a means for both to maximize take-up, and dominate the space? Meta, too, is looking to become the AR leader, as another element within its broader metaverse push, though it’s primarily focused on VR and building wholly immersive digital worlds.
That could open the door for Snap and Apple to win out, with the cool factor of Snap combined with the technology of Apple to build a more fashionable, appealing AR wearable product.
There’s nothing to suggest that such a partnership is on the cards as yet – though Snap has worked with Apple on various AR projects and elements in the past.
With this in mind, building audience could be a key step, which is why Snapchat’s approach to Snapchat+ may just be the better way to go, as opposed to Twitter’s thus far stumbling Twitter Blue strategy.
Snapchat says that it will ‘continue to drop more features’ for Snapchat+ over the coming months.
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