It’s no secret that Twitter has been looking at live videos as one of the ways to drive engagement on its website and gain new users - and it may have just found the best way to present the live streams to millions.
Twitter is testing a dedicated spot for live streams on its desktop homepage. A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that the company is indeed testing this feature, but declined to share any more details.
The move could help Twitter fix one of the biggest challenges it faces with its live streams: most people have no idea Twitter has live streams.
"If Twitter is going to make big investments in live video, [it] need[s] to promote it somehow or it’s all wasted," Jan Dawson, chief analyst and founder of Jackdaw Research told Gadgets 360.
Twitter knows about this problem all too well. Speaking at Recode’s annual tech conference earlier this month, Twitter COO Anthony Noto said the company had recently included live videos under the Explore tab on its website, and has been dabbling with the idea of using push notifications and direct messages to let people know when a video stream goes live. The company, he said, has been looking at other ways to address the issue, and we now seem to have got our first glimpse at one of the possible solutions.
Twitter broadcast over 800 hours of live videos during the first quarter of 2017, and it has a strong reason to believe that live videos can help the company drive engagement.
"When you bring live video to the platform, it increases the discussion and increases the number of tweet impressions," Noto said. This was evident when the company live stream NFL games last year.
"On Thursday nights without NFL, we had five to six million people looking at tweets, and generating about 100 million tweet impressions," he said. “When we brought the video to platform, we increased the amount of tweet impression by '3-4x', we increased the number of tweets created by 2x, and number of video starts by 2x."
Live videos have garnered interest of many tech giants, including the likes of Facebook and YouTube. Both the companies have inked deals with creators and publications to produce more live streaming content.
So has Twitter, which is increasingly reminding people that it is the first place where most of the world events get talked about in real time.
"I think Twitter sees live video as being the best way to attract a broader audience to come to and spend time on Twitter. It’s a familiar format, and it fits well with Twitter’s focus on being all about what’s happening in the world now," says analyst Dawson.
In April, Twitter announced it is partnering with news network Bloomberg. As part of the deal, Bloomberg will stream news on Twitter round-the-clock. The company has also partnered with outlets such as BBC, The Verge, and Mashable for live streaming various events.
With the latest move, which is still just a test, Twitter is looking to give live videos a more prominent placement in the hope of increased reach.