Although a social media platform, the content consumption on this platform is vastly different from others. Some users actively post updates, news, and opinions regularly, while others may just use the application to consume all information worldwide passively.
However, with so much shared content, keeping up with everything happening on the platform can be overwhelming. But Twitter's algorithm greatly influences the content users see on their timelines.
An algorithm ensures people first see the most relevant and interesting content rather than being bombarded with constant updates. Understanding how the Twitter algorithm works is essential for anyone who wants to make the most of the platform.
Whether you're a business looking to promote your products or services, a journalist trying to stay on top of the latest news, or just a regular user trying to keep up with your favorite accounts, knowing how the algorithm works can help you get the most out of your experience on Twitter.
This article tells you everything about how the microblogging platform works.
What is the X (Twitter) Algorithm?
Twitter algorithm is a set of rules that rank content on the platform, determining each post's value based on a set of rules. In essence, the algorithm is a central brain that powers what we see on Twitter and how we see it.
As per the company, the algorithm sifts through roughly 500 million tweets daily to pick a handful to display on a user’s timeline. These decisions are based on many factors, including location, virality, personal interests, recency, and whether or not the content is sensitive or spammy.
Why Does Twitter Use It?
Twitter uses the algorithm to improve user experience by showing users the most relevant and engaging content. The algorithm ensures that users first see the most important tweets based on their interests, past interactions, and other factors.
The algorithm also helps Twitter to monetize the platform by showing users relevant ads. By analyzing user behavior and interests, the algorithm can display ads that are more likely to be clicked on and engaged with. Twitter users spend 1.9x as much time looking at connect ads (ads that connect to an event, occasion, or trend). This is an important reminder for marketers to use Twitter to reach potential customers.
Twitter's Recommendation Algorithm
Twitter's Recommendation Algorithm is responsible for selecting the top tweets that show up on your device's ‘For You’ timeline. Let us explore in detail how the Twitter algorithm chooses tweets from various sources to deliver the best content to you.
How do we choose Tweets?
Twitter's Recommendation Algorithm combines in-network and out-of-network sources to choose tweets. The algorithm aims to answer important questions such as "What is the most relevant content for this user right now?" and "What is the best way to rank content for this user?"
1. Candidate Sources
The algorithm considers a wide range of candidate sources, including tweets from people you follow, tweets from people you don't follow, and tweets from accounts that are similar to those you follow. It also considers popular tweets that are relevant to your interests.
a. In-Network Source
Twitter's recommendation algorithm also uses in-network sources to choose tweets. This means it chooses tweets from the users you follow and then ranks them based on their relevance. It keeps a tab on the people you follow and how often you interact with them. It considers your recent activity, such as the tweets you have liked, retweeted, or replied to.
Twitter uses the Real Graph model for the In-Network tweets, which predicts the likelihood of engagement between two users.
b. Out-of-Network Sources
The algorithm also considers out-of-network sources to choose tweets to display on one’s timeline. For this, it relies on news events, trending topics, and other signals that are not directly related to your interactions or activities. To find these, Twitter uses the following methods:
- Social Graph: This refers to a network of people you follow on Twitter. The algorithm analyzes the engagement of the accounts you follow. It finds who else likes tweets similar to yours and sees what else they have liked. Based on these, it chooses a few tweets that may also appeal to you.
- Embedding Spaces: This approach finds tweets and users that match your interests. Twitter forms communities based on different topic categories, and if a certain tweet gains popularity within that group, it is likely to appear on your timeline if you share a similar interest.
In summary, Twitter's Recommendation Algorithm uses a combination of in-network and out-of-network sources to choose tweets that are relevant to your interests.
Twitter's ranking algorithm primarily focuses on personalizing user content based on their interactions, such as tweets they like, share, or respond to. These include user engagement (likes, retweets, replies), the recency of the tweet, the relationship between the user and the tweet author (like mutual follows), and the user's historical interactions with similar content.
For instance, tweets from sports-related accounts might be ranked higher if a user regularly interacts with sports content.
3. Heuristics, Filters, and Product Features
Heuristics are rules used to filter out content. For example, Twitter might use heuristics to reduce the visibility of spam or duplicate content.
Twitter employs filters to manage content quality, such as filtering out hate speech or misinformation. It also filters out the tweets from the users you have blocked or muted. These filters are constantly updated to reflect the evolving online discourse.
Product Features include features like "Topics" where users can follow specific subjects. These features influence the recommendation algorithm by aligning content with user-selected interests.
4. Mixing and Serving
This is the last step in the process of serving tweets on a user’s feed. This refers to how different types of content (tweets, ads, news) are mixed in a user's feed. The goal is to create an engaging and diverse content stream. It considers server load, content delivery networks, and real-time adjustments based on user interaction.
Incorporating all the above elements with relevant statistics and real-world examples can provide a comprehensive overview of how Twitter's recommendation algorithm functions and impacts user experience.
Twitter Algorithm Ranking Signals
You must respect the algorithm if you want to make big moves on Twitter. The Twitter algorithm uses various signals to decide which tweets to show in users' timelines. Understanding these signals can help you optimize your tweets for maximum visibility:
One of the most important signals is recency. Twitter prioritizes tweets that are recent and relevant. So, if you want your tweet to be seen by as many people as possible, make sure to tweet it at the right time.
Twitter considers a user’s past actions and engagements to display the tweets on your timeline. The relevance factor ensures you see content that is relevant to your interests. It analyses the user's past interactions, such as likes, retweets, and follows, to prioritize tweets that are more likely to be engaging and valuable to the user.
This is another crucial ranking signal which provides users with a wide variety of content. It includes a bit of news, personal opinions, entertainment - all in all to present different perspectives. This allows users to be open to new ideas and diversify visibility.
4. Media Files
Lastly, to not make your timeline full of textual content, the algorithm favors tweets with media elements. Those with videos, images, GIFs or polls are pushed further on the timeline.
Have you noticed that the platform has added a section such as ‘Popular Videos’ recently? This is another way to promote tweets with media files.
10 Tips to Beat the Twitter Algorithm
1. Get Verified
Twitter verifies accounts to ensure that users can trust the authenticity of the content. Verified accounts have more visibility, so it's worth applying for verification if you're eligible. Post-takeover by Elon Musk, he stated that verified accounts would be prioritized.
2. Tweet at The Right Time
Timing is everything on Twitter. Tweeting when your followers are most active can increase engagement and visibility. Use Twitter analytics to determine when your followers are most active and schedule your tweets accordingly. A study by Buffer finds that tweets sent at 9 pm in the US earn the most retweets and favorites on average.
3. Be Consistent
Being consistent on Twitter can also play a significant role in upping your presence on the platform. As the algorithm favors accounts that consistently post high-quality and engaging content, regularly sharing valuable tweets, interacting with followers, users can improve their visibility and reach.
Consistency in posting content signals to the algorithm that an account is active and committed to providing meaningful interactions, which can lead to higher ranking in users' feeds.
4. Use Tags Purposefully
Using relevant hashtags can widen connections and increase the visibility of your tweets. However, don't overdo it. Too many tags can make your tweets look spammy and decrease engagement. Using hashtags impacts the marketing process with +18% message association and +8% brand awareness.
5. Use Visual Elements
Tweets with visual content tend to get more engagement than text-only tweets. Use photos, videos, and GIFs to make your tweets more engaging and increase visibility. A very early analysis by Twitter found that tweets with photos got an average 35% boost in Retweets while those with videos got a 28% boost.
6. Encourage Followers to Engage
Engagement is key to getting your tweets seen by more people. Encourage your followers to like, retweet, and reply to your tweets to increase engagement and visibility.
Also, note that engaging is more than just likes and retweets. Among the few other factors determining if your tweets will appear on others’ feeds are your engagement with the received replies and bookmarks.
Twitter added an action button for bookmarks earlier this year. So the number of bookmarks you receive on your tweet will also increase its chances of visibility.
7. Try Twitter Polls
Twitter polls are a great way to increase engagement and visibility. Polls are easy to create and can be used to gather feedback from your followers. It helps you to learn about a user's preferences and opinions with just a single click. Brands can conduct market research and use polls creatively before new launches.
8. Join Relevant Trends and Topics
Joining relevant trends and topics can increase visibility and engagement. All those who are discussing or following a certain topic will also be able to follow your views and engage. However, make sure only to join conversations that are relevant to your brand or message.
9. Repackage Top Content
If you have a tweet that performed well in the past, consider repackaging it and tweeting it again. This can increase visibility and engagement.
10. Apply Insights From Analytics
Use Twitter analytics to track the performance of your tweets and adjust your strategy accordingly. Look for patterns in engagement and adjust your content and timing to maximize visibility.
By understanding these ranking signals, you can optimize your tweets for maximum visibility and engagement on Twitter.
Twitter's algorithmic choices significantly impact what users see on their feeds. These choices have been criticized for promoting fake news, conspiracy theories, and other harmful content. However, Twitter has addressed these concerns by increasing transparency around how its algorithms work.
For example, Twitter has opened much of its source code on GitHub to the global community, allowing researchers and developers to understand better how the platform works. It has also experimented with new ways to enable custom algorithm controls, allowing users to pick their own algorithm, not just Twitter's Home Timeline algorithm. By giving users more control over what they see on their feeds, it wants to create a more personalized and engaging experience for everyone.
Impact of the Twitter Algorithm
1. On Users
The Twitter algorithm significantly impacts users' experience on the platform. By using machine learning to predict which tweets a user is most likely to engage with, the algorithm curates a personalized timeline for each user. This means that users are more likely to see tweets that are relevant to their interests, making their experience on the platform more enjoyable.
However, some users find that the algorithm can be unpredictable and frustrating. Tweets from accounts they follow may not appear in their timeline, while tweets from accounts they don't follow may appear more frequently. Additionally, some users may feel that the algorithm reinforces their existing beliefs and biases, as it shows them tweets similar to the ones they have engaged with.
2. On Advertisers
Like any other social media platform, Twitter majorly generates its revenue from advertising. So similar to users, the Twitter algorithm significantly impacts advertisers who use the platform to reach their target audience. By using the algorithm, Twitter can show ads to users who are most likely to engage with them, increasing the effectiveness of advertising campaigns. Ad publishers charge them with every new campaign based on the number of impressions, website visits, app installs, etc.
However, the algorithm also means that advertisers must be more strategic in their targeting and content creation. They need to understand their target audience and create content that is relevant and engaging to them. Advertisers also need to be aware of the potential for ad fatigue, as users may become tired of seeing the same ads repeatedly. Deloitte's survey reveals that 6 in 10 consumers would be more satisfied if the ads were more targeted and relevant to them.
Overall, the Twitter algorithm positively and negatively impacts users and advertisers. While it can improve the user experience and increase the effectiveness of advertising campaigns, it can also be unpredictable and reinforce existing biases.
Advertisers need to be strategic in their targeting and content creation to make the most of the algorithm, while users may need to adjust their expectations and engagement habits to get the most out of the platform.
In conclusion, understanding the Twitter algorithm is crucial for anyone looking to establish a strong presence on the platform. The algorithm is a complex system consisting of candidate sourcing, ranking, and filtering stages, designed to provide users with the most relevant content based on their interests and engagement history.
To beat the algorithm, you must create high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. This means staying current with the latest trends, using relevant hashtags, and regularly engaging with your followers. This can be exhausting, but how about having software that eases it for you?
For an engaging and seamless experience, you can check our Highperformr, a social media management tool. Using the best AI technology, it can help you craft descriptive and engaging headlines, add multimedia content such as images and videos, and leverage the right advertising tools to reach a wider audience.
You can develop an interesting bio or even automate tweets with various free tools available in the software. Lastly, monitoring your performance regularly and adjusting your strategy is important. Use Highperformr’s analytics tools to track your engagement metrics and identify areas for improvement on Twitter.
Remember, the key to success on Twitter is to provide value to your audience and stay consistent in your efforts. Let Highperformr can be a value addition to managing your Twitter presence with a clear understanding of its algorithm.