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Twitter Outlines its Olympic Tie-In Tools, Provides Tips for Brand Campaigns



With the games of the 32nd Olympiad about to kick-off in Tokyo, after a year’s delay due to the pandemic, and amid ongoing uncertainty with Japan’s COVID situation, Twitter has today outlined how it’s looking to help users take part in discussion around the event, which also includes how brands can tap into the surrounding trends for their tie-in marketing efforts.

First off, as has become the norm for major events, Twitter is adding custom hashtag emojis (or ‘hashflags‘ as some know them), both for the event itself and individual participant nations:

As per Twitter:

“Fans worldwide can use the official Olympics Twitter emoji throughout the Games. The emoji will unlock when you Tweet #Olympics and related hashtags in more than 30 languages. Twitter will also have emojis for each country competing, unlocked when you Tweet three-character country hashtags. Lastly, fans can cheer on the Refugee Olympic Team during the Games by Tweeting #EOR to unlock their team emoji.”

Twitter’s also added custom hashflags for American gymnast Simone Biles specifically, as she looks to build on her Olympics legacy.

It seems likely that other athletes will also get similar hashflags throughout the games. 

Twitter’s also adding a new Olympics Explore tab on desktop for the duration of the event, as well as new Olympic topics to follow to stay up to date.

Twitter will also be running custom games Event Pages, which will feature top Tweets from trusted accounts.

“You’ll be able to follow the action and reactions as they happen for the marquee events and top games. We will also have custom Event Pages dedicated to different countries. These will be home to top Tweets which capture that country’s experience.”

And in a new addition for this year, Twitter’s launching what it’s calling its #ExpertEngine Experience, which will provide a way for users to learn more about Olympic events.

When you send a tweet through, you’ll get a reply with facts and animated clips related to that event.

It could be a handy option if you’re looking to learn more about the events – or if you just want to one-up your friend or partner who suddenly thinks that he/she knows everything there is to know about modern pentathlon and its athletes.

Twitter also notes that the most popular Olympic sports thus far, in terms of overall tweet volume, are:

  1. Soccer
  2. Basketball
  3. Tennis
  4. Swimming
  5. Baseball

While the most popular individual athletes are:

  1. Rikako Ikee (@rikakoikee) – Swimming, Japan
  2. Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) – Gymnastics, USA
  3. Naomi Osaka (@naomiosaka) – Tennis, Japan
  4. Kei Nishikori (@keinishikori) – Tennis, Japan
  5. Kohei Uchimura (@kohei198913) – Gymnastics, Japan

These will likely change during the event, as there are always emerging heroes and stories between the lines. But if you were looking for where the Olympics conversation is focused, these are some good pointers at this stage.

Which is what brands seeking tie-in opportunities are probably most keen on – and on this front, Twitter has also shared some pointers for marketers to help in their planning.

Twitter’s key considerations for branded tie-ins are:

  1. Get your tone and topics right – There are 33 different sports to choose from, so don’t limit yourself to the most popular events
  2. Get familiar with time zones – According to Twitter, 28% of people are planning to use their preferred social platform to watch highlights in the morning   
  3. Make the most of digital-first – With no IRL crowds, more fans than ever will be looking to engage online, which is a big potential opportunity
  4. Plan for the unexpected – With the COVID-19 situation still evolving, things can change quickly, so if you’ve mapped out a strategy, note that it could be blown out of the water, just like that
  5. Define your goals – Consider not only your basic social media engagement goals, but the actual brand benefits that you’re looking to glean from your tie-in campaigns

These are some solid notes, and if you are planning out an associated tweet strategy, it’s worth factoring in these elements, and ensuring that you’re best prepared.

Because nobody knows what’s going to happen over the next few weeks. Even now, with the COVID situation worsening in Japan, it still feels like the Olympics could be canceled entirely, while in the past, the Games have dominated the surrounding media cycle so significantly, that there’s also a good chance that it’s going to be much harder to get your brand messaging heard at all during the event.

Maybe. It feels different this time around due to the COVID changes, and it’ll be strange watching world records get broken with literally no crowd response. Maybe that will mean that the Games are less influential, and disruptive in the general media sense – or maybe people will be increasingly keen to unite around the Games due to the pandemic, and it’ll be bigger than ever.

It’s impossible to say, but you can definitely expect to hear a lot more sports discussion, and that may need to be factored into your planning.


Elon Musk Outlines Roadmap for ‘Twitter 2.0’ in New Slide Deck



Elon Musk Outlines Roadmap for ‘Twitter 2.0’ in New Slide Deck

Elon Musk has provided some more insight into his evolving plan for Twitter, which will now also see the company embark on a hiring push, after firing 65% of its workforce, in order to get in more development and engineering talent to help realize Musk’s grand vision.

And with that, Musk has put together a new pitch deck, of sorts, which aims to clarify his current plan. Which, as noted, is evolving quickly, so it may end up being totally different, it may be indicative – we don’t know for sure as yet.

But he is slowly clarifying and honing in on specific elements.

Here’s a look at the collection of slides that Musk has put together to present his current strategic outline for the app.

As you can see in this first slide, Musk’s presentation shows that new account sign-ups are at an all-time high, with the chart going back to 2014.

I’m not sure what that means in isolation. Definitely, that could mean that more people are keen to get in on Twitter conversation, and with Facebook getting stale, and Instagram suffering an identity crisis, Twitter is seemingly becoming a more interesting consideration.

But it would also be worth noting where these new sign-ups are coming from. Are these US users, maybe freedom of speech-ers signing up to Elon’s new, more open public square? Are these users in developing markets, as has been Twitter’s predominant growth trend for the past three years, as US usage has stagnated?

Could this be scammers signing up for a lot more accounts very quickly – because in order to qualify for Twitter Blue, and get a blue checkmark, accounts will have to have been active for at least 90 days prior?

It’s a stat, for sure, but without further context, it’s hard to make any conclusion on what it means.

The next chart is User Active Minutes, which is also at an all-time high.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

That is interesting – based on this chart, divided by the current number of active users, which Musk has also shared, the average Twitter user is now spending 31.5 minutes per day in the app.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

That’s not radically different than what’s been previously reported, though some reports have suggested Twitter usage has declined significantly in recent times. These numbers actually reinforce that, with Twitter’s session time down in the low teens (seemingly) till 2021, then rising again of late – though I suspect the lower chart is supposed to say ‘November 2022’ at the bottom right.

Basically, the data shows that Twitter is back at its previous usage levels, after losing its way for some time. Which is not surprising given Musk’s capacity to spark controversy and discussion.

There are also some more questionable charts that show a decline in hate speech:

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Note that the qualifier here is tweets ‘with 1+ slur’ from a curated list, and a ‘Toxicity score’ of 0.91 or higher. This is a little vague and lacks the full context of what this represents.

There’s also this:

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Which just shows that a lot more people were engaging in impersonation in the app when Twitter started allowing them to buy Blue verification ticks, then, when Twitter pulled the $8 verification plan, fewer impersonations were reported.

Like, yeah, you opened the door for them to scam people with misleading verified accounts, so they took advantage, and now they’re not, because they can’t. At least until Twitter re-launches the $8 verification plan next week.

Musk then also shared this overview of his current roadmap, which is pretty much a re-angling of Twitter’s current features.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Advertising as entertainment’ uses an example of an automated sampling script to create a more engaging ad experience (‘like this tweet and I’ll show you which house you belong to based on your tweets’). Not sure if Musk is suggesting that this is something Twitter will be offering as an ad tool, but thus far, these types of activations have been created by brand partners, in collaboration with Twitter. If Twitter does move to make this an actual ad feature, that could be difficult to scale.

Note that Twitter also released Branded Likes, a related ad engagement option, back in June.

The next frame, as you can see, just says video with a randomized example

Not sure exactly what this means, but Musk has flagged allowing longer video clips to be attached to tweets, while he’s also talking about a creator monetization program, which would offer a more beneficial revenue share than YouTube’s 45/55 split.

Musk also points to Twitter’s soon-to-be-launched encrypted DMs, which app researcher Jane Manchun Wong has discovered are being built on the Signal Protocol.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Encrypted DMs are fast becoming the standard, with Meta also integrating full encryption across Messenger, Instagram Direct and WhatsApp. That’s raised the hackles of many law enforcement groups, who say that this will offer protection for criminals, but it will also provide more security, and assurance, for general users.

There’s also Longform Tweets, for which Musk has shared a screenshot of Twitter Notes, which has been in development over the past year.

Notes enables you to create posts of up to 2,500 words, which are then natively embedded into the Twitter app for easy sharing.

Then there’s the revamped $8 verification plan, which I’ve shared my thoughts on here.

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

Oh, and payments:

Elon Musk Twitter Plan

No examples here, but based on Musk’s previous statements, it seems like he’s looking to follow the same game plan with payments that various other apps have already tried. You start off by facilitating funds transfers between accounts, enabling fee-free remittance, a key benefit in developing markets. Then, once people are already moving money in the app, you offer more ways to use it, via in-app purchases, bill payments, banking, etc.

This is Musk’s big, overarching plan to make Twitter a more critical app – but as noted, various others have tried, and the regulatory hurdles alone have made it a nightmare to enact.

Maybe Musk will have better luck in moving things forward, but it’s a big challenge, which will take time – which is also why there’s no example image for this as yet.

Of course, the mention of payments will also fire up all the crypto enthusiasts, who view Musk as a key leader in mainstreaming crypto payments. That definitely won’t be happening, but I suspect that this is another reason why Musk has left this slide blank, to offer a glimmer of hope to his fanatical fan base.

Which is what Elon does best. Question his business and intellectual acumen all you want, but he sure does know how to get attention, which is really the most valuable, tangible skill that he brings to any project. He’s a walking PR machine, who’s now been given the keys to his own platform millions of users, and it’s pretty clear that he’s enjoying the attention he now commands as Twitter-in-chief.

The next question then is, how many media tricks does Elon have up his sleeve?

He’s enabling everyone to buy a blue tick, he’s brought back Trump, he’s unbanning a heap of previously banned accounts, all under the guise of facilitating free speech.

Each of these actions has sparked its own media cycle, and brought a heap more attention to Musk and Twitter as a result, but when the stunts run out, what then?

Can Musk keep coming up with more attention-grabbing changes at the app, or will this roadmap actually lead to a more sustainable business, enabling him to stop grabbing headlines, and leave Twitter to its own devices?

In essence, that’s what these usage charts show, that Musk is really good at getting attention.

But it’s what comes after that will make or break the business.

Oh, also, someone has suggested that the tweet character count should be expanded to 420 instead of the current 280. Given Musk’s affinity for this number, that’ll probably happen.

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