Twitter is on social media platform truly loved by all marketers and one of the primary reasons for this is because Twitter does not make the marketers face the algorithm that Facebook uses.
Twitter has often been compared to a fire horse, blasting a fast stream of unfiltered content, making Twitter almost the opposite of Facebook. A pretty fitting description, if you think about it.
But the scenario is soon to be changed. Twitter is now confirming that they are beginning the testing stage with a small group of users. A change in their algorithm, a change which has plagued the minds of marketers for a long time. For the looks of things, sooner or later this change is going to happen…
But what does that mean for you?
And what do you need to know, for now?
It is no secret that changes have been happening for a while now. In fall 2014 the coming of a Facebook style curated news feed is was announced.
Twitter’s timeline is organized in reverse chronological order, but this isn’t the most relevant experience for a user. Putting that content in front of the person at that moment in time is a way to organize that content better. ~Twitter CFO Anthony Noto.
In the month of January 2015, Twitter added the “While You Were Away” feature to their timeline. These two changes came about in quick succession. This feature shows users interesting tweets that they missed while they were off Twitter, a move aimed at encouraging users to return to the service more frequently.
That was followed by the inclusion of “Moments,”. A tab showing tweets which were based on a varied range of topics. The aim of this feature was to put the tweets under sorting categories that users might be interested in. The bottom line…filter the clutter.
While many of the current users may rebel against the idea of moving toward a more Facebook-style algorithm, the company is acknowledging what Facebook and Google have long since known: that users expect the services they use online to know what they want to see.
In a conference call July 2015, cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey said, “You will see us continue to question our reverse chronological timeline, and all the work it takes to build one by finding and following accounts…Our goal is to show more meaningful Tweets and conversations faster, whether that’s logged in or out of Twitter.”
In its most recent announcement on December 8, 2015, Twitter said that the company has begun testing a new algorithm where tweets will be ordered by relevance rather than reverse chronological order. So it’s happening, but it’s still too soon to know exactly how it will impact businesses.
Let’s admit it, change was Inevitable. Statistics show that Twitter is struggling to draw in new users even after the changes it has made over the last couple of years. Let’s consider some statistics. In between the months of July to September, Twitter grew only by 11%, from 316 million to 320 million. While that may sound like huge growth to come people, it still missed its growth forecasts, and throughout the past year the stock has fallen approximately 32%. Hence, changes and experimentation were inevitable.
What does this mean for us common users?
Companies complain daily about the fact that they spent years (and precious marketing dollars) accumulating fans on Facebook with the assumption that they would be able to freely reach them. With the decline in organic reach, companies now have to pay all over again to distribute content to their audiences. The fear is that the same is going to happen with Twitter, that marketers will be required to pay to reach their communities on Twitter too.
On the other hand, it could mean that if someone on Twitter has liked a tweet from a brand he isn’t following, that the algorithm could show that content to the user anyway. The truth is that it’s too early to tell what the implication will be for marketers.
Till the time Twitter give us clarity on what exactly will be their algorithm the best bet for all marketers is to continue putting out value-based content that is relevant to their target audience.
The brands that will likely suffer the most are the ones who are putting out nonstop promotional content that gets zero engagement. Useful content that the audience wants to see and engage is and always will be the key to Twitter marketing. Communication with the users, humanising the brands, focusing on engagement and content is what will help a marketer be successful on Twitter in both the short and long term.
At least until we have a better idea of what the new algorithm changes will bring.