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How does Twitter's new algorithm affect brands?

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | February 15, 2016
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Digital experts are unanimous in their opinion that innovative content and relevance is the way forward for marketers.

Twitter has recently rolled out arguably the most significant change in its timeline by introducing a new algorithm. It allows users to check the 'best Tweets' first when they open their account. However, the social media platform has not revealed the parameters by which the best tweets will be filtered. Also, there is no word on whether this feature has been introduced just on trial basis or will be permanent.

It is currently opt-in which means one can go to the settings of his/her Twitter account and select 'Show me the best Tweets first' option. Users expressed discontent with Twitter's decision with #RIPTwitter which trended globally.

Twitter

This change assumes even more significance for brands as they cannot take organic reach for granted. The move seems similar to Facebook's strategy on tweaking its advertising and monetisation strategy, tightening the rope around the organic reach of brand posts.

We reached out to the digital experts on how they perceived Twitter's new algorithm and the impact it will have on advertisers.

Edited excerpts

Saugata Bagchi

Zafar Rais

Nimesh Shah

Saugata Bagchi, business head, Quasar

The new timeline offers a better experience for users who run the risk of missing the best tweets when they are away from the service. The latest changes have been made to ascertain the quality of content. So, relevant content from brands has a better chance of getting 'top billing', provided the content is interesting and relevant, thereby allowing brands with good content to gain more traction than usual. This, in turn, is predicted to push brands to do paid promotions on Twitter which is exactly what Twitter is looking for.

Zafar Rais, CEO, MindShift Interactive

Twitter needed to do something to get ahead of the curve and build new excitement parameters. This challenges marketers to build content that's richer and allows a higher level of personalisation for content consumers too, keeping in mind Twitter's real time content USP. While this will raise concerns for marketers given their algorithm adapts a similar pattern to what Facebook did, leading to a more advertising and lesser organic methodology, it will also challenge content creators to focus on quality versus quantity of production. We're actually pretty kicked about this internally, and are happily ideating on making the most of it.

Nimesh Shah, head, Windchimes Communications

This is an excellent step forward by Twitter to ensure that its users remain engaged to the platform. Just like our friendship and community circle, we connect with only 10-15 per cent of people regularly.

Twitter, basically, has incorporated this user behaviour on its platform. It is doing so for its own survival because the new user rate has stagnated and even dropped in terms of interactions. Most users will retweet and favourite their close set of followers and then exit the platform. The direct implication of this is that brands will have to work that much harder to consistently create good content if they want to remain in that personal circle of each user. Brands will have to be clear on what they want to achieve with regard to Twitter users and accordingly churn out the content.

Also, brands that will see a drop in their engagement will opt for promoted tweets and promoted trends to maintain their erstwhile visibility and engagement rates. Twitter should improvise on their existing advertising model and allow better targeting to the followers. Twitter ads should help in getting better RoI for the brands than its existing model.

I also believe that a lot of brands may opt out of the platform if they aren't able to justify their usage of the platform and what it delivers for them with respect to their objectives.

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