Understanding how Twitter’s algorithm works helps you know what type of content to create to stand out from the competition. When designing a social media campaign, knowing the main criteria taken into account by the Twitter algorithm is also useful to provide context to performance statistics.
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Since the creation of Twitter in 2006, the algorithm has undergone many changes. It is essential for the company to fully understand them in order to improve its reach organic, that is to say the reach of its tweets, without having to invest in sponsorship actions.
What is the history of the Twitter algorithm?
In 2006, Twitter’s news feed was presented chronologically. The user could then consult the publications of the accounts he followed in the order of publication. At that time, there was no feature that made it easier for him to see what content he had missed if he hadn’t logged into the social network for a while.
It was not until 2017 that the current algorithmic news feed arrived on Twitter in order to offer each user content adapted to their profile and based on the analysis of their online activity.
Prior to this big change in how its algorithm works, Twitter had tested several features to improve its user experience. In 2014, the “Recommendations” formulated content proposals for each user. The following year, this feature was expanded to be called “While You’re Away”. The user could then read the tweets he had missed after a few days without a connection. In 2016, Twitter content submissions were named “Top Tweets.”
What are the criteria taken into account by the Twitter algorithm to highlight a publication?
The recency level of the Tweet
The level of recency of a tweet, that is to say the date on which it was published compared to the date of the day, is the first criterion to have been established in the Twitter algorithm. When the News Feed was still chronological, it was even the only criterion for ranking tweets in relation to each other.
Today, the recency of a tweet remains a major factor for the Twitter algorithm. This responds to the very nature of the social network and its objective of offering “hot” and concise content. Newer tweets are therefore always considered more relevant than older posts.
User behavior according to the Twitter algorithm
On social networks, the analysis of user behavior has been made possible by the improvement of algorithms. Twitter is not the only platform to have taken a closer look at how its users behave in order to offer them increasingly personalized content.
More concretely, the Twitter algorithm pays attention to the degree of user activity. This lets him know:
- What tweets a user has interacted with lately, either a retweet (RT) or a like.
- When he last logged into Twitter.
- Which accounts he regularly follows.
Using a “Twitter Card”
Twitter Cards are a feature to change the formatting of a post from the standard tweet template. By using a Twitter Card, the author of a tweet can attach media, for example, an image or a video.
When media (image, video, GIF, poll, hyperlink, etc.) is added to a Twitter post, the algorithm also analyzes the composition of that media. It is able to recognize if a photo or any other graphic element corresponds to the theme covered in the publication and therefore to consider for which users it is relevant to display the tweet.
More broadly, the use of Twitter Cards is highly recommended for any content strategy on Twitter. This function increases the range and therefore the performance of tweets.
The level of relationship between the author of a tweet and his audience
Obviously, the reach of a tweet depends above all on the size of the audience of its author. But beyond the number of people who follow a Twitter account, the algorithm also takes into account the degree of relationship between the author of a publication and its audience.
This means that a Twitter account followed by a large number of Internet users who do not interact or little with its tweets is less likely to be highlighted by the Twitter algorithm than a similar account with less subscribers, but more regular interactions.
To go further, download this free guide to ddevelop your brand, increase your notoriety and attract new customers thanks to Twitter.