What Twitter’s new timeline means for retailers
11.02.2016 345 views
Twitter Inc. today rolled out a new timeline that shows users the tweets its algorithm believes they are most likely to be interested in, rather than present the most recent tweets first, which has been the case until now.
The move is Twitter’s latest attempt to address lackluster user growth; the social network added just 4 million users in 2015’s third quarter and only 33 million monthly active users between 2014’s third quarter and 2015’s third quarter.
“User growth is the lifeblood of any platform that relies on reach to monetize itself,” says Susan Etlinger, an analyst at Altimeter Group. “If Twitter can make the content on its platform better resonate with new users, it will make them more likely to use the platform. One reason people leave Twitter is because they feel overwhelmed by the feed.”
For retailers the new timeline could force them to devote more ad dollars to the platform if they want to reach consumers, Etlinger says. Just as Facebook’s news feed algorithm has systematically reduced the reach of brands’ non-promoted posts, Twitter could take a similar path with its algorithm. And, even if the algorithm doesn’t target brands’ tweets, a curated timeline will likely mean that nearly every users’ tweets will be seen by fewer users—unless they pay to promote them.
“Brands should plan for end of organic reach,” Etlinger says.
By giving users the option to choose between Twitter’s classic reverse chronological order timeline and a timeline that shows tweets the social network deems relevant, Twitter is making it more difficult for retailers’ social media managers to manage the platform. “Even if only 5% of users use the new timeline, the data that social media managers have analyzed on Twitter will be changed,” she says.
Moreover, the algorithm could make it harder for retailers and other brands to capitalize on the types of in-the-moment tweets that enable them to garner mass exposure without having to pay to ensure consumers see their tweet. “If the algorithm measures things like the volume of tweets, hashtags and keywords used, there’s a chance that Twitter could change, ” Etlinger says. “”Itcould impact anything from grassroots political movements to more trivial memes to the brands’ ability to reach audience without having to pay for it.”
For example, when singer Pharrell wore a brown hat that looked like the Arby’s logo to the 2014 Grammy’s the fast food restaurant tweeted:
Source: Internet Retailer