Twitter

For those who don’t see the value in sharing the mundanities of daily life, Twitter is still for you.

That’s the implied message of a new marketing initiative from the micro-messaging platform, which is increasingly positioning itself as more of a news service than a social network.

Twitter on Monday unveiled the result of what chief marketing officer Leslie Berland described as a months-long project looking into how Twitter is perceived around the world. She said that two key themes emerged among those who didn’t regularly use Twitter: that they didn’t know what Twitter was for and that they thought they had to tweet every day.

“Many thought of Twitter primarily as a social network,” Berland wrote in a post. “A place to find and connect with friends and family.” She said they also thought that these people didn’t use Twitter because they didn’t have much to say. “We realized we had some explaining and clarifying to do.”

The result is a marketing campaign of videos and digital ads that will help convey the message that Twitter is a place to “see what’s happening” with “all the live commentary that makes Twitter unique.” The ads will appear both on Twitter and in other outlets.

The videos show scenes and hashtags from recent events, including politics, protests, sports and entertainment, with a voiceover that says, “What’s happening in the world? What’s everyone talking about? What’s trending?”

While designers do weigh in on current events on Twitter, it is the celebrities and media brands that have really made the most of the platform and are posting regularly. The fashion crowd has been more enthusiast in engaging on the company’s live video platform Periscope, which has been used to broadcast runway shows and other events.

Berland did offer some encouraging news for Twitter that came out of its research — 90 percent of people globally recognize the brand and those who do use Twitter classify it as the “best and fastest way to see what’s happening.”

On Tuesday, the platform will share its second-quarter earnings with investors. Twitter’s monthly user growth has recently stalled around 320 million, well behind Facebook’s 1.65 billion users and lagging Instagram’s 400 million.

Twitter’s identity crisis hasn’t been as severe as Yahoo, which just cut a $4.83 billion deal to sell its core business to Verizon. Twitter has been gradually introducing updates that signify efforts to make its service easier to use and to grow its user base.

In May, the company said attachments would not count toward its 140-character limited. It has also moved away from a chronological timeline and added a “Moments” section, both efforts to help users find the most relevant content. Last month, it added Engage, a stand-alone app that is designed to help “creators, influencers and public figures” grow and engage with their audience.

Part of its path to being perceived as a breaking news service is live-streaming of events. Twitter most recently announced that it would live-stream Major League Baseball games, National Hockey League games and nightly highlights programs from 120 sports, and has been streaming the Republican and Democratic national conventions.

Chief executive officer Jack Dorsey in April said this would be an ongoing focus.

“Twitter has always been the best place to see what’s happening now,” he said. “Think of President Obama congratulating Elon Musk on the historic SpaceX landing, or the world celebrating the legacy of the legendary artist Prince.”

He later added, “I want to point out that this watching with Twitter, watching a live event, has been something we’ve seen for nine years now. It’s pretty phenomenal.”

Dorsey also noted the potential opportunity for marketers. “During these events is really when Twitter shines for marketers; these live audiences and the connection that marketers can have to them are rare in the online ad space and so we stand out from the rest of the market around these events.”

One recent example is the department store Kohl’s, which during the Oscars offered a behind-the-scenes, red carpet live on Twitter through a promoted tweet with Periscope, which Twitter owns.

During next month’s Olympics, Dorsey said there would be more video and video advertising being used. “We think there’s going to be great opportunities to showcase how far we’ve come since the last time around.”

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