ThingLink: Big News for Twitter and Brands


From time to time, I’ll be surfing the net, or reading someone’s blog and I’ll spot a new website, application, development or product and think: now that’s clever.

ThingLink is just one of those instances. ThingLink enables users to embed interactive, rich content (for example music, videos and text) into images shared on Twitter. Clever eh?

But what is it, and what will it mean for brands?

What is it?

ThingLink is a Finnish-American provider of in-image interaction tools. It was launched in 2008, and could potentially change the way (radically) people engage with photos by transforming them from static images to a medium for exploring rich, relevant content that enhances the user’s knowledge and experience. They’ve partnered with a couple of well established companies to improve the platform. For example, in March 2011 ThingLink partnered with Soundcloud, which enabled audio to be embedded into a static image. They have also partnered with Eventbrite to enable event tickets to be sold through an image.

What’s New?

Last week ThingLink announced that users will now able to embed interactive images and photos on Twitter through brand new ‘Twitter Cards’. Twitter users can now post an image and include interactive ‘hotspots’ to external links without affecting the original tweet. An images can have numerous hotspots (with various different icons), a follower can hover over or click on the hotspot to enable the content. ThingLink recommends using an image with less subject matter in it so users can place hotspots on specific locations and not make the image to busy.

What does it mean for brands?

Now this is where my marketing juices really begin to flow… This is something that will really appeal to brands as they are able to fit multimedia links into tweets: images, videos, sound clips, messages and in some cases an option to purchase. Being able to add these extra links onto an image really enables a brand to reduce the steps it takes to complete an action, for example selling a product. Being able to add tags over an image allows the user to be able to view product details without having to leave their Twitter feed.

A brand will now be able to showcase their products and offers directly to their followers without having to direct them to their product pages. All of this helps Twitter to become a far richer platform for communication, which could increase a brands reach. This new launch has the potential to be very popular with brands, however, it has to be mentioned that the experience won’t translate as well on a mobile as it does on desktop. Obviously the screen is much larger on desktop, but also the links will automatically appear on your mobile, unlike the desktop where they appear whenever you hover the mouse over the image.

How do you get started?

To start using ThingLink and create an interactive image for sharing on Twitter, users just have to register for an account and follow the instructions to get the embeddable code. Pretty simple really.

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