Last week Twitter announced that it was considering 10,000-character tweets. This week, they announced another change that could be just as huge. The company is finally integrating its service with Periscope.
Over the next few days, some Twitter users reading tweets on iOS and desktop devices will be able to watch Periscope streams without leaving the Twitter app. The videos will autoplay inside the feed, just like a Facebook video, and expand to full screen with a tap.
That's a big change. Until now, you had to click a Periscope link that would pull you out of Twitter and into the Periscope app.
Periscope had about 10 million members in August 2015. Twitter has more than 300 million active members. So it's pretty clear that if you had tried to market on Twitter one of the 100 million live broadcasts streamed through Periscope last year, you could have reached only a fraction of Twitter's audience.
Bigger tweets will be the change that gets all the attention in the press. But live streaming inside Twitter? That's the revolution that will change social media.
According to at least one report, live streaming is showing the strongest growth in ad views, rising 146 percent year on year. Premium programmers, the report says, now see a third of their views from live content.
For businesses on Twitter, it's a huge opportunity because Twitter challenges marketers to do two difficult things: We have to grab attention, and we have to hold on to that attention.
Getting a tweet seen in a stream of fast-flowing content isn't easy. Winning more engagement than a quick glance and flick of the thumb to load more tweets is tough. Live streaming will enable marketers to grab attention with a moving image, and hold onto it with the sense of urgency that comes best with a live broadcast.
A number of brands from L'Oreal to GE have already experimented with live streaming but they've always struggled to put the streams where the audiences were. Now we can interrupt our audiences and bring our streams directly to them.
"The integration of Twitter and Periscope allows live streaming videos to leverage the global unfiltered fire house of communities, which will create scale and widespread adoption of periscope," says Brian Fanzo, chief social media officer at MyChannel Inc.
Live streaming is still relatively new, so we'll have to think long and hard about content, and experiment with different topics to see which kinds of videos grab audiences most and which hold onto them the longest.
Launches should certainly become live events, announced in advance, perhaps supported through Twitter advertising, and streamed on the platform. But random appearances will take the most dedicated followers behind the scenes of a brand and live chats with audiences could also turn out to be a valuable strategy for personal brands.
At the moment, the integration will be restricted to iOS and desktop, but Twitter says they plan to roll it out on Android soon. That might make things a little restrictive at first but it should provide some useful data to work with. The fact that iOS is a priority tells us just how important mobile viewing has become.
A tweet might be about to become 10,000 characters but a stream of live pictures will be worth many more words.
Below is a replay of the Periscope I broadcast shortly after hearing about the change. Ironically, I had to post it on Facebook since I didn't yet have access to view the live stream through my Twitter account.