Twitter has announced a new link-shortening service embedded into Twitter.com.
The new feature will allow users to put in a full URL and have it shortened to 19 total characters (one character shorter than bit.ly) automatically, but will continue to display a truncated version of the actual URL you're linking to thus giving an increased ability to screen spamming, scamming, or otherwise aggravating URLs. Unfortunately, the built-in shortening does not yet have any analytics.
This new service has been requested non-stop for years, and many services that tap into Twitter such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite already had this feature installed.
Twitter has also improved the way people search on the site, with a new search interface having been implemented earlier this month; links, media, and other content has been made more visible.
Twitter's Ad Model Potential: An Untapped Gold Mine?
Also recently discussed was Twitter's strengths as a communication platform.
According to Twitter's President of Global Revenue, Adam Bain, 80% of user engagement with a tweet is clicking on a a link contained inside (with the remaining being re-tweeting or responding to a tweet). But it's not just limited to sharing interesting resources. Historically, advertisement tweets have received massive exposure.
Perhaps the most impressive example of user-brand engagement can be seen in the Twitter-exclusive announcement of the new Beetle. More than half (52%) of all users who saw the tweet clicked on the link. Part of the effectiveness can be blamed on re-tweets. As a company-made post circulates through the Twittersphere, confidence is built alongside exposure.
So what's left in the move to a powerful monetization mechanism for Twitter and a great place to advertise for brands? The first and biggest step is the self-serve platform, anticipated in the second half of this year. From there it's a matter of building trust, creating appropriate targeting, and field-testing the advertisements. It's not a guarantee that Twitter will make good use of their potential, but the potential is most certainly there.