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Twitter Tests Like and Star Buttons for Tweets; Another Ad Play in the Works?

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Twitter is reportedly testing new “Like” or “Star” options in place of “Favorite” for tweets. Select users have seen the new icons in place of the traditional Favorite button.

twitter-star-icon

twitter-like-button

Both “Like” and “Star” appear to use the traditional star icon in the top right corner of a tweet to indicate it’s been... well, Liked, Starred, or Favorited.

Mike Isaac at AllThingsD shared some interesting insight into the Favorite feature. Apparently Twitter toyed with the idea of calling it “Thanks,” before settling on the Favorite to which we’ve become accustomed. He says they always meant to get around to testing out new names for the feature and it seems that time has come.

Favoriting tweets shares with others that a user has indicated a preference for that particular tweet, in addition to storing them in a user’s Favorites list.

Whatever you call it, favoriting a tweet is the equivalent of Liking a post on Facebook or giving an update a +1 on Google. It’s an endorsement by one user for the tweet of another.

It will be interesting to see if this eventually develops into another avenue of monetization for Twitter. They have Promoted Tweets, but this could be a step towards another social ad option, similar to Facebook’s Sponsored Stories. Or, Twitter may start displaying the number of Likes/Stars within ads, a la Google+.

As social companies try to outdo one another in the mobile advertising arena (Google and Facebook being the biggest contenders), Twitter may be considering another advertising option based on user endorsements. Perhaps to say a user “Likes” something is more attractive as an ad that to say it was a Favorite? It works for Facebook!

Obviously they are testing to see what resonates with users. The question is, why? So users can boost their own preferred tweets collection? Not likely.

Do you have a guess as to why Twitter might be tweaking the social endorsement label for tweets? Share in the comments!

UPDATE: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo confirmed the test at the Internet Advertising Bureau's Engage conference in London, V3 reported. “We’re testing some alternative terms for favorite. Favorite feels a little bit too heavy weight so we’re testing some lighter weight terms,” Costolo said. “Engagement begets engagement. The lighter weight and more frictionless you make it to engage, the more engagement you’ll get.”


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