Last month Twitter introduced changes to its API that mean that third party apps like Tweetbot are not going to be as useful as they once were. The new API makes life more difficult for those using third party apps, restricting what those apps can do while at the same time introducing a four figure charge for access to the new APIs. But what do these changes mean for businesses and how is this likely to affect marketing practices?
Who is going to be the most affected?
Generally, it will be anyone using third party Twitter apps, such as Tweetbot and Twitterific. All third party Twitter apps are going to be affected by the changes, without exception. The result of the changes will be that apps are forced to cripple a wide range of features that tend to be popular with users of these third party apps. For example, the Activity and Stats tabs have been removed from Tweetbot because they required now-deprecated activity APIs in order to function. And if you’re using the Twitterific app the changes mean it is now no longer able to receive and display native notifications.
Why have the changes been made?
Twitter has been the first to acknowledge that third party apps have had a huge role in growing the Twitter platform and range of service. However, in a statement released by the social media giant, it highlighted a number of technical and business constraints that mean it can no longer provide third party apps with the APIs that they required in order to keep functioning in the same way as before. Twitter has referred to the APIs as “legacy technology” that is outdated and needs to be removed from the equation.
However, many have pointed out that the only reason this is the case is because Twitter has refused to redevelop or maintain the APIs that third-party apps are using. While Twitter stated that it was not realistic for it to build a totally new service to replace the APIs in question, it has also been pointed out that Twitter has in fact created this service but has priced it so high that it will be out of reach for the majority of third party apps.
What does this mean for marketing?
Twitter has stated that the best possible experience of its platform is available via "owned and operated Twitter for iOS and Android apps, as well as desktop and mobile twitter.com." So, clearly if you want to use all the latest features and functions of Twitter then it needs to be via the platform’s own technology. Third party apps made life easier, particularly for smaller businesses looking for a more efficient way to manage social actions and interactions on a small budget. It will still be possible to do this, whether via an in-house team or outsourcing this to a specialist – the only option no longer available will be to do it via third party apps.