Twitter’s latest test encourages users to Direct Message brands, not tweet at them

A number of businesses use Twitter to interact with their customers and offer support. But that often means responding to angry tweets directed at their account, then switching users over to private messaging to deal with the issues at hand. Now the company is testing a new feature for brands that puts its “Messaging” button front-and-center, thereby encouraging customers to start their conversations with the business via DM (direct message) instead of in public view.

The new button appears on mobile and takes over the full space where the “Tweet to” and “Message” buttons used to live side-by-side. The end result is that it’s actually easier for users to start a private conversation with the brand in question, as their attention is directed to the bigger button, as opposed to the “create a tweet” interface.

Some accounts that already have this feature enabled on mobile include @AppleSupport, @Uber_Support, @BeatsSupport, @ATVIAssist (Activision Support), among others.

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We understand this test is just an experiment for the time being, and it hasn’t made its way to all its business users at this time. It’s also not a configurable setting at this point, either – so there’s not a way for any user or brand to enable it for themselves.

Twitter often runs small tests of new features, which include things like user interface changes, button size tweaks, changes to button locations and more. Seeing a tweak like this in the wild isn’t a confirmation that it will become an official feature.

However, this one would make sense as something businesses might like to utilize as it helps them better take charge of their customer conversations.

In addition, many of the accounts spotted sporting the larger “Message” button also have the new “Featured” tweets section enabled. This is something Twitter is testing with brands to help them provide better customer service, as it allows the brand to showcase a curated collection of their accounts’ tweets. You can see this section live on IFTTT’s profile, for example.

The accounts with the big Messages button generally have the new feature that shows their “most responsive times” enabled, too. For instance, Apple’s support Twitter account says that it’s most responsive to users between the hours of 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. This information is displayed above the Message button.

The idea to show users how responsive they are to customers is something Facebook has been doing with its business Pages for some time. However, the most recent Page redesign seems to have done away with this informational text for the time being.

(h/t: @EliLanger)