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Twitter tweaks timeline

News, 11 February 2016

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter has launched a new timeline that displays first those tweets the service believes are most important to individual users, in a change the platform says will enable brands to reach a more engaged audience.

"We think this is going to make life easier across the spectrum for users," said Twitter product manager Michelle Haq. "We noticed across the board this caused users to create and interact more."

The displayed tweets will be based on users' interests, past activity and interactions. Haq indicated to TechCrunch that the number of such tweets was likely to average around twelve and she stressed that the new timeline was an option that users could turn on and off.


A blog post announcing the shift argued that brands will be able to reach a more engaged potential audience.

The new timeline will not include Promoted Tweets – these continue as before – but product manager Eric Farkas noted that "the best content shines through", creating an incentive, if one were needed, for brands to create good quality material.

"Throughout our tests, we also saw an increase in engagement for brands' organic Tweets and an increase in engagement for Tweets about live events," he added.

Several marketers welcomed the change. Jason Stein, founder & CEO of social media agency Laundry Service, described it as "a meaningful evolution of [the] user experience", while Sarah Hofstetter, chief executive of digital agency 360i, was enthusiastic about the best content rising to the top, "increasing both relevance and likelihood of engagement".

For those people choosing to use the new service, it is likely they will pay more attention to the recommended tweets before scrolling rapidly through their normal timeline. 


Twitter "could potentially rack up extra revenue by selling premium ad slots amongst this recommended content chosen by its algorithm", TechCrunch suggested.

Twitter has also launched First View in the US, offering advertisers the chance to buy "exclusive ownership of Twitter's most valuable advertising real estate for a 24-hour period". That would be a Promoted Video in the top ad slot in the timelines.

Data sourced from Twitter, TechCrunch; additional content by Warc staff