Twitter redesign offer big name brands more prominence
Twitter has redesigned its micro-blogging service giving companies a greater presence on its network.
The company said the enhancements would make Twitter a more "compelling destination" for brands.
The firm depends on its relationship with advertisers. At present its main source of revenue is "promoted" tweets, accounts and trends sold for cash.
Experts have warned that the company must be careful not to "compromise users' experience".
"It may make Twitter's members feel that its commercial interests are being put ahead of their own," said UK-based digital consultant Philip Buxton.
He warned that the business needed to be aware of the mistakes other social media organisations had made after increasing the amount of marketing on their services.
"Twitter realises looking after its users is essential to its success, but it knows it also needs commercial success to sustain the service," Mr Buxton added.
However, a spokeswoman for Twitter said the main goal of the revamp was to make the service more simple and easy to use, rather than to focus on brands.
"If users don't want to see a brand's page, then they can just not visit it," said Rachel Bremer.'Simplified'
The so-called "brand pages" will bring Twitter in line with similar features offered by Facebook and Google+.
A new "discover" feature highlights content from Twitter based on a user's interests and location, an enhancement of the site's existing hashtag system.
"We've simplified the design to make it easier than ever to follow what you care about, connect with others and discover something new," the company said in a blog post.
"You'll see this new design both on Twitter.com and mobile phones, so that you'll have a familiar experience any time, anywhere."
The company said an update to its standalone app Tweetdeck would also be made available. Twitter bought the UK-developed tweeting software for £25m in May.
Twitter said that the upgrade would be rolled out to all users "in the next few weeks". The new features can be accessed earlier by downloading the firm's updated mobile app.
However, UK brands will not have an opportunity to take advantage of the new profile pages until 2012.Bigger presence
Several brands have partnered with Twitter for the launch including Coca-Cola, Disney, Nike and McDonald's.
The redesign allows companies more customisation over the look of their pages and the ability to show embedded multimedia.
Daniel Bennett, from US advertising firm JWT New York, said the new "discover" feature was crucial, as it would encourage companies to match their postings to members' interests.
"It probably raises the bar in how brands have to behave on the site," he said.
"I think this will dominate more of the brands' dollars in terms of managing and maintaining their online presence."