16th February 2016

Twitter announces new algorithm

Extracted from the original post on Medium by Louis Thompson, Head of Digital

What effect does Twitter's new curated feed have on advertisers?

For going on ten years now, Facebook has been evolving it’s news feed in attempt to curate the content that it’s algorithm thinks you will like best. It bases these decisions on a number of factors including; your interests, your interactions, your browsing activity etc. etc.

Unsurprisingly, twitter has announced a move that will bring them more in line with their social media counterpart although; they haven’t completely jumped on the bandwagon.
Previously, the twitter timeline only had one key metric for relevance to the user…how recent the tweet was posted in relation to logging on.

Twitter is not using their new algorithm to replace the reverse chronological feed but rather to supplement it. Now when a user hits their timeline they will be shown a dozen of the most popular tweets that they may have missed previously and have the option to scroll down to view the normal feed.

This may not be new to many people. Twitter has been testing a catch up feed for a while now and asking users if it was something they liked. Clearly the results were positive.
In order to establish what tweets appear in the catch up feed, Twitter’s algorithm takes into account a variety of variables; which accounts does the user follow, the type of tweets a person usually interacts with, their interests and trends in those interests based on whom they follow. It will also take into account if groups of people are tweeting about certain events as well as the behaviour of users with similar interests.

One thing to note is that this feature will not be a standard for twitter users. They will be asked if they want to opt into the new feed or remain with the status quo.

What does this mean for advertisers?

This may not mean a huge amount to advertisers immediately but if the algorithm has the desired effect of making users check their twitter feed more often, it does mean more eyes on sponsored and organic tweets.

Specifically it could mean more eyes on twitter’s latest ‘First View’ ad unit that greets users when they log onto the platform for the first time each day.

The new curated feed will also contain standard ad units providing they fit with the targeting set for each user so with multiple opportunities to present paid content at the top of a users feed can’t be bad.

It should also reward advertisers and brands that are already creating engaging, popular content. This could potentially mean greater organic reach for brands that position themselves well within the new format.

With what could be seen as a soft launch with users opting into the new algorithm, it wouldn’t be a big stretch for twitter to implement this as a standard for the platform if they see positive engagement from users.

For advertisers and brands that have embraced content marketing as a standard vertical within their strategies the only requirement is to keep doing more of the same and track the influence of the change in twitters format. For those who are yet to see the value of creating content as a key part of the marketing mix, this is a further push to move with the times and start engaging their users in new and interesting ways.

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