Back in late 2014 Twitter’s CFO Anthony Noto stated that Twitter would eventually look into changing its content delivery system from a strict chronological timeline to something more akin to Facebook’s Newsfeed. Noto expressed how implementing such a feature would help alleviate the issue of top content being buried and make the Twitter experience more relevant for the end user. Fast-forward to mid 2015; Twitter has yet to make the full switch, but there have been gradual changes to the platform that will ultimately make the transition feel less jarring to users.
Check out the three ways Twitter has started to craft a “Newsfeed” Timeline:
1) Better Data!
Twitter has always lagged behind Facebook in regards to providing insightful post and page performance data. However, continued updates to the Twitter analytics platform have helped to close this gap. One of the most significant updates made is to the “Impressions” metric, which now counts the times the Tweet is served in the timeline natively or in search results. This makes the Impressions metric more comparable to Facebook’s Impression metric. This is significantly better than the accumulation of all followers of accounts who Retweeted the Tweet, a metric Twitter once depended on as its Impressions total. Having more accurate Impressions information will give Content managers a better idea of how many individuals are actually seeing each piece of content.
2) While you were away…
Launched earlier this year on the iOS Twitter app — and now fully rolled out to the Web interface — the “while you were away” feature resurfaces relevant, most engaged content to the top of your timeline that you may have missed since your last login session. These Tweets (typically three to five) appear to be pulled into this feed based on the Twitter’s Retweets and Favorites metrics. While only a feature now, one can easily see how this feature could expand to become a Newsfeed-like implementation to Twitter’s timeline.
3) Showing Top Tweets in Search
When performing a search on Twitter, by default, users are brought to the “Top” section, which sorts Tweets by top engaged content rather than chronological order. This is yet another example of Twitter transitioning timelines and seeding content in a way that isn’t chronological.
As of today it is estimated that 6,000 tweets are published every second which equates to 350,000 tweets per minute or 500 million tweets per day. With that amount of tweets being published and currently no method of filtering to the current timeline it makes sense that Twitter is slowly marching towards the same conclusion Facebook came to which is establishing a algorithm to determine what content to feature to a user. It not only makes Twitter’s platform more timely and relevant to the end user but also adds potential value to Twitter’s ad product.