|Twitter’s Facebook-like Algorithm: What It Means for PR
Last week, Twitter announced that they would implement their Facebook-like algorithm across all user accounts. Previously available as an “opt-in” feature, users must now opt-out of this feature to see their full complement of tweets. Spoiler alert: few people are opting out.
Announced at the same time as a plethora of changes, including an affirmation that the 140-character count tweet would not change, universal login support, Tweetdeck standalone depreciation (cloud version is still available), bidding for live TV rights, improving the Android experience (specifically for Moments), and adding Windows 10 support (you can tweet with Cortana), the opt-in algorithm may seem to be an innocuous change amidst a flurry of changes but it’s not. This algorithm fundamentally changes the way that brands will be able to communicate on Twitter in the future.
What I want to do in this post is briefly look at how algorithmic impressions impacted Facebook and project these on to the “new” Twitter.
What does Facebook teach us about algorithms?
An illustrative example of implementing an algorithm is Facebook. Without an algorithm, Facebook would be similar to Twitter as we now know it: content seen in real time, presented chronologically. If a communication professional or marketer was able to insert themselves into the Facebook timeline without paying to promote content, Facebook wouldn’t make as much money. After all, social advertising and promotion are really about amplification of a message on these platforms.
Facebook positioned their algorithm as a tool to help get the best content read, but it actually serves as a firewall. Content is frustrated by the algorithm and can be distributed with an ad spend. Facebook’s revenue has correlated positively with its algorithmic firewall, and it’s not a mistake. You probably understand that Facebook is a pay-to-play platform for communication and marketing. Now Twitter is pay-to-play, too.
Contextually, this move makes a lot of sense. In February, Twitter’s stock price plummeted on news of stagnant growth. Recent reports that advertisers aren’t enamored with Twitter ad spends haven’t helped the situation. Facebook was faced with a similar situation at its IPO albeit under more favorable circumstances (users, growth, connections, etc.).
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This article was published originally on Cision. A link to the page follows this post.
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