Written by Benn Tan, Joey Peng and Erasmus William.

Twitter debuts Audio Tweets for iOS Users

Twitter has launched a new feature that allows users to record audio snippets of up to 140 seconds and share them as audio tweets. Available as a trial, exclusive to a limited group of people only through iOS, this feature is definitely a work-around to the 140 character word limit.

Users will see a new waveform icon beside the camera icon whilst composing tweets. Tapping on it allows them to record their own audio message of up to 140 seconds, before sharing it alongside a written tweet. Once the time limit for a tweet is reached, a new voice tweet starts automatically to create a thread.

However, this function is limited to original tweets only - replies and retweets with comments are unable to be augmented with voice messages. Users are also unable to modify how the audio message looks on a wall. Twitter automatically uses the user’s current profile picture as a static image and this will not change even if the user changes their profile photo.

Twitter has announced that a dock will appear near the bottom of the app, allowing users to listen to audio tweets while scrolling through their timeline. They will even continue to play in the background when you switch to another app on your iPhone.

List Search Now Available on Twitter for All Users, Providing More Options for Users to Follow Topics

In addition to the list recommendation panels in your Twitter feed, users can now select ‘Show more recommendations’ prompt to get a list search option.

From there, users will be able to enter a topic and get a listing of themed lists based on their title, so that they can add as either a swipeable, alternate feed or just for reference among their other lists.

List suggestions are based on a mixture of who a user might follow, the things that are tweeted about, and the current lists they are following - which allows for a more refined selection that is aligned to the user’s behavior and interests.

Twitter has curated a large selection of lists for this launch - At the initial stage, they are vetting the lists that are displayed as we can all agree a lot of Twitter lists are not great. Although this seems like a manual task, it seems likely that Twitter will lean on algorithmic suggestions to reduce the amount of human effort in the process.

Lists search adds another way to find themed and topic-based lists to follow, which expands on Twitter's push to stretch beyond following individual users and could help users get more out of the Twitter experience.

YouTube’s Latest Shoppable Ad Format

YouTube steps back into the “social commerce” scene with the introduction of a new shoppable ad format, this time allowing advertisers to add product images beneath the ads to drive traffic back to the brand pages.

Being an audiovisual platform, it’s no surprise that users would be enticed to make a purchase after seeing a product on YouTube. With the integration of these shoppable ads, advertisers will be able to leverage on the consumers’ interest at the right place and time, and potentially drive traffic to their product pages. 

To enable shoppable ads, advertisers will first need to sync the brand’s Google Merchant Center feed with their YouTube video ads. They will then be able to expand an ad’s call to action with the brand’s product images that will eventually drive traffic to their website. 

This new format could also help YouTube become a versatile social channel and help them catch up with Instagram and Pinterest who are at the forefront of the e-commerce game. 

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Disclaimer: Featured image taken from RouteNote.