The wonderfully cheerful hearts you tap to signal to a periscope live video’s owner or creator that the content is enjoyable and that you are loving the broadcast might look a little different on Twitter in the future. The company announced that they are rolling out a very new method for brands to engage fans through live video – it will now let them create their own “custom hearts” for use in Periscope’s live video. These customizations can be used alone or combined with ads in brand sponsorships of broadcasts, says Twitter.
The first campaign to feature custom hearts already went live, with NBC Universal being the debut client. The studio used its own graphics in a marketing campaign for its new movie, “The Fate of the Furious,” which includes an integrated “F8” custom heart for fans to tap on. Here is the tweet from their handle
These “custom” hearts appear alongside the multi-colored hearts that are typically shown – and that variation could induce users to tap more frequently, and it may end up becoming some sort of “increased engagement” metric for the brand to use, maybe the marketers will come up with ways of creatively using this to improve branding online.
But brands don’t exactly have free reign to create their graphics through some sort of self-serve system, these are designed well in advance by Twitter in partnership with the brand before going live. That means Twitter won’t have to vet and approve submissions – an area where it got into trouble before, during the U.S. presidential campaigns.
At that time, twitter was heavily criticized for rejecting a custom hashtag campaign for the tag #CrookedHillary that allegedly included a stick figure emoji running with a bag of cash. Twitter explained its decision then as not wanting to confuse users who may have thought the ad represented Twitter’s own political viewpoint. It then decided not to run sponsored hashtag emojis for political campaigns in the future.
With brands wanting to market to users through the new custom hearts feature, it’s not very likely to get itself mired into controversial areas like that. But in this day and age of tone-deaf Pepsi commercials and the like, you can never be too sure where a brand may misstep next. Twitter’s hand-in-hand system of creating graphics at least gives the company more control over the final product. That way, nothing that is off to them gets through and hence they are not fighting fires post the fact.
This is being seen as a move that is like the reactions emojis that facebook rolled out sometime ago. If it increases engagement and improves user traction, Twitter will have met their objective with this one. Let’s see where this goes next. We will keep you posted on developments
I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.