In case you missed it recently, Twitter has tweaked its timeline and it has created an all-new challenge for digital marketing and social media content creation. Simply put, by default, your Twitter feed won’t be in date and time order like it has been since 2006. But why?
Twitter says you will “never miss important Tweets from people you follow”. But Twitter already has a “while you were away” feature, compiling what it thinks are the few best tweets you haven’t seen since you were last on the platform. Another great reason for the new change, which Twitter aren’t shouting about too much, is revenue.
You see, Facebook has been doing this sort of thing for years now. By not showing, as the default setting, the news feed in time order, it runs a sophisticated algorithm to show you what it thinks is interesting to you. This means, if you like a brand page on Facebook, the chances are you may not see every post that they publish.
In fact, from the page point of view, Facebook will only organically show posts to a small percentage of your audience. This could be as low as 2%. Back in 2012, that used to be closer to 16%. If you want to make sure the right people see your lovingly created and curated content, you need to pay.
In practice, this completely changes the mindset when it comes to Twitter Ads. Predominately, they have been very effective at promoting link clicks and gaining new followers. Seen as every tweet you create could be seen by every one of your followers organically, the paid Twitter campaigns have usually been about raising awareness outside of your regular audience.
However, what has become commonly known as a ‘boosted post’, could very well become a theme on Twitter. If you are linking to an interesting article or a funny image, to make sure you hit everyone with the new timeline, a simple £5-£10 promoted boost may be what is required to guarantee exposure to your own audience. These small payments to gain exposure certainly add up over time.
Twitter and Instagram have long been the last standing bastions of creating plenty of engaging, original content and waiting for the new followers to come without necessarily spending anything on adverts. Now though, the recent timeline changes create a new challenge for digital marketers. No longer must a business only take the time and effort to perfect social media posts, but also set aside marketing budgets to potentially rival those of AdWords campaigns for Twitter too.
These are expensive times. It is easy to forget that social media platforms are businesses. How much these recent changes to Twitter will cost in the long run is hard to say. Currently, the re-ordered timeline is only for those using the official Twitter app, and, while it is turned on by default, you can easily switch it off and revert back to how it used to be. There is no telling at this early stage if it will catch on, but rest assured, there’s never been a better time to create content that is ultra creative to really catch your followers’ eyes.