Twitter is rolling out another redesign of their profile pages and mobile apps, but these changes have bigger implications than initially meet the eye.

The last time I wrote about this topic, I speculated that one of the reasons behind the previous redesign was to get more people to use Twitter.com and its official mobile apps. According to research by Sysomos, 42 percent of the tweets come from a non-official client like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck. With this latest update, Twitter is continuing to move in the direction of keeping people into their ecosystem.

So, what impact do these changes have on brands? In general it signals a shift back to focusing on creating quality content, because the redesign levels the playing field for all Twitter users.

Let’s start with what has changed. For most people and brands, your profiles will go from this:

To this:

There’s a Facebook-style cover photo that’s now the central focus of the profile page. You’ll also notice that photos are displayed more prominently. The iPhone, iPad and Android apps received similar overhauls. Overall, the new Twitter puts a bigger emphasis on photos and videos. More on that in a bit.

There’s a caveat for brands that have paid for advertising on Twitter. One of the main benefits of doing so was having access to an enhanced profile page. It made your profile look a cut above the rest.

Enhanced profile pages are going to be phased out, more or less. According to Twitter, the only special feature paying brands get to keep is the ability to pin tweets to the top of the page. Yay?

But, truthfully, that should be bridge under the water. With the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram, it’s clear that visual content is crucial to social media.

Thus, Twitter’s redesign levels the playing field in a way that’s encouraging. Now every brand on Twitter has the opportunity to make a big impact with compelling visuals and to show off their brand’s personality in unique ways. It essentially forces brands to focus on creating high quality content. And that’s a good thing.

The new design will eventually become mandatory, but it’s available now. To activate it, go here and add a  “Header.” Your whole profile will be updated to the new design.

What do you think of #NewNewNewTwitter? Let us know in the comments!