Big changes are coming to Twitter's "brand pages," the landing pages it offers to some marketers that also spend ad dollars on the network.
Launched in December, the pages show the brand's Twitter feed and images, but Twitter plans to add experiences, including e-commerce, contests and sweepstakes, according to three executives familiar with the matter.
The product will allow app developers to build experiences on Twitter, much the way they do on Facebook. The features will be contained within the brand's tweet timeline, a departure from the 140-character limit of a tweet or images and videos that can now displayed. While no date has been set for the release of the product, Twitter has been telling clients to expect it this year.
When Twitter launched brand pages, the differentiators from a regular page were a large, customizable header and the ability to keep a particular tweet at the top of a timeline and have it auto-expand if it was a photo or video. At the time of the launch, Twitter Chief Revenue Officer Adam Bain said features would eventually be added to brand pages.
Twitter declined to comment on the new features.
While 21 high-profile marketers like Nike , American Express and McDonald's were part of the launch group, and more brands that had committed $25,000 in advertising came onboard in January, many marketers have wondered about the usefulness of Twitter's brand pages in their present form. But the prospect of developing content that 's native to the Twitter experience and using it to drive users to their own pages could make brand pages' function -- and value -- clearer to marketers.
Particularly interesting is the idea of e-commerce on Twitter. Twitter co-founder and Executive Chairman Jack Dorsey is also CEO of mobile-payments company Square. And American Express recently started a program in which it sends offers to Twitter users in exchange for certain actions, such as tweeting a hashtag. Dell , Best Buy, H&M and 1-800-Flowers are participating in the program.
Twitter has also shown signs of wanting Twitter.com to be a destination where users linger instead of a portal that dispatches them elsewhere through outbound links. In other words, a media company. Last month it launched an "Ad Scrimmage" page collecting Super Bowl spots and inviting users to vote on their favorites.
Brand pages are available only to Twitter advertisers and may have the potential to drive revenue by making organic and paid content more connected. If marketers can make their brand pages into interesting destinations, they have a greater incentive to invest in paid tweets to drive Twitter users there.
Twitter's revenue is expected to reach $259.9 million this year, up from $139.5 million in 2011, according to eMarketer.