Twitter Makes Search Results More Visual

twitter's more visual search resultsWe’ve long been fans of Twitter search to help source a variety of information, but the search experience was, well, rather lacking, to say the least. Twitter has apparently been clued into its less-than-stellar search site, and has been working to revamp it in the last few months. The newest addition? Results that highlight shared photos, videos and news to deliver a richer, more visual search experience.

As part of the recent change, you’ll notice three new elements when you use Twitter search on the desktop site or your mobile device:

  • Photos and videos will appear first
  • Media will appear in the stream on iOS and Android, giving you the option to quickly digest information through photos, headlines and article summaries.
  • Enhanced context will show you who favorited or retweeted a tweet, helping you better understand why that particular result is showing in your stream.

To tap into these new features, simply input your search query at the top of the page and choose your preferred results type from the navigation bar on the left side of the page (pictured below):

twitter releases more visual search results

Depending on the results your query generates, you’ll see top photos and videos appear above matching tweets, even if you don’t specifically choose to see the photo or video results.

Why The Change?

In the past, Twitter’s content has been much more text-oriented rather than image-based.  And adding both photo and video search functionality looks to be part of Twitter’s new strategy to plant its own flag with regard to social images. By highlighting images and videos, they’re encouraging more sharing of photos and video, rather than just 140-character text messages. Add to that the fact that Instagram just opted out of Twitter sharing and that makes this timing even better.

With the success of predominantly visual social networks like Pinterest and Instagram, it only makes sense that Twitter is not only trying to create a better experience for its users, but also tap into the power of photos and video.

We’re also hearing rumors that Twitter soon introduce photo filters in the coming weeks, an addition that could make it more competitive with Instagram (and, by extension, Facebook). I don’t know about you, but I miss being able to see (and share) Instagram photos to Twitter, and if this functionality happened, I might use it. What about you?

As marketers, we already know that images and video are not only widely consumed—they can help drive engagement and results, too. And as sites like Twitter make changes to tap into this increasingly visual digital landscape, consider it your signal to reexamine your own online approach, too. When you develop marketing campaigns, are you developing them to work across a wide variety of platforms? Are you using photos and videos to better tell your brand story, and connect with current and prospective customers? If not, you should.

Have you had a chance to explore the new Twitter search? What do you think?

Image by shawncampbell via Creative Commons

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