A late entrant, Twitter looks to change the ‘Story’ game with Fleets

Twitter looks to change the ‘Story’ game with Fleets
Twitter looks to change the ‘Story’ game with Fleets

On June 8, 2020, Twitter India finally introduced their new feature – ‘Fleets’ – to the Indian market, making it the first timely feature brought to India by the micro-blogging giant.

However, ‘Fleets’ as a feature is not a new one. Just like the ‘Story’ feature on Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp, Fleets will allow the user to upload momentary images, GIFs and videos to share their thoughts and ideas, which will then disappear in 24 hours.

The idea of launching ‘Fleets’ was backed by the fact that people on Twitter refrain from posting certain tweets as it can be read and replied to by anybody. A tweet, unless deleted, stays on the platform forever.

Product Lead at Twitter and Co-founder, Periscope, Kayvon Beykpour, pointed out, “People often tell us that they don’t feel comfortable tweeting because Tweets can be seen and replied to by anybody, feel permanent and performative (how many Likes & Retweets will this get?). Many of us can probably empathise with this: https://t.co/LW2xWlctZi in a tweet on March 4, 2020.”

Since the announcement, Twitter received some flak, which is expected, as they were Introducing an old product that has been present in the market for a few years. However, the opportunity that Twitter creates with ‘Fleet’ cannot be ignored.

Twitter has always been a more text driven platform. ‘Fleets’ will allow the user to now use images and videos in a fun way, which, in turn, will facilitate a more content driven outlook.

This will also attract brands, advertisers and content creators to further leverage the platform. This ecosystem can now create ‘snacky’ content for the everyday user, which will not only attract the user, but also create a sense of urgency due to the tweet disappearing in 24 hours.

Fleets will allow Twitter to enter the realm of Instagram, Snapchat and WhatsApp. However, how will brands exactly use this feature will only depend on how much the user himself uses it. Brands will want to wait for a while and see how much traction this particular feature gets. Maybe after a few updates, the exact opportunity for brands and advertisers can be determined.

Fleets is also bound to attract more users to platform as it leverages content and also eliminates the pressure of post existing forever on Twitter.

Expert speak

As the Fleets feature is still in its nascent stage, it is going to be extremely exciting to see how this feature disrupts the market and creates new opportunities, especially in the current situation. Likewise, industry experts are sharing similar excitement and here’s what they have to say:

Siddharth Devnani, Co-founder & Partner, SoCheers: “We see how Instagram stories get higher views and impressions as compared to posts on the rest of the app. Advertisers and brands realised this very early on and strategised for stories separately. Our learning is that posts with a limited lifespan, like IG stories and fleets, drive much higher FOMO, and hence, higher engagement. For Fleet, like any new feature launched by a social media platform, there are mixed emotions along with some entertaining tips – go check out #FleetFeedback. As for brands, many will invariably repost content meant for elsewhere, but most will wait and watch what impact it can drive. The user behaviour and adoption will dictate how much brands focus on it and how much advertisers spend on it in the near future. I am looking forward to some smart creators and some select brands having a lot of fun with Fleet, while it’s still a fresh new feature!”

Mehul Gupta, CEO & Co-founder, SoCheers: “Twitter fleets will help content to be discovered quicker. Also, we will now see images and videos be equally important on the platform which was always text first. This update has given room for creative content to be created on the platform, which will be smartly used by the creators, influencers and brands. However, the impact of this is yet to be discovered. We can expect a few more updates in coming weeks by the Twitter team basis their learnings.”

Chaaya Bharadwaj, Founder & MD, BC Web Wise: “Twitter is about news, opinions and engaging conversations. Brands have had their limitations on what they can say or do, considering the very involved audiences, wherein a stance taken by any brand or individual that goes with what’s trending could spark larger debates and possibly even controversies. With Fleets, this opens room for immediate responses or stances without the worry of it being etched forever in the walls of tweets. It opens up the window to explore more in moment marketing, experimentation and short term initiatives.”

Sudish Balan, Chief Business Officer, Tonic Worldwide: “It gives influencers one more outlet to drive brand-led messaging. We will also see some influencers divide their content, all brand led communication will go on fleet while their regular content on both on Fleet and tweets. This strategy will aid them to keep their feeds cleaner and not make it look like someone who is just interested in promoting multiple brands.”


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