Video marketing vs. the Twitter algorithm

There has been less talk about the Twitter algorithm than the Facebook or Instagram algorithms lately, but it’s still smart to keep up with the latest that’s understood about how it works and what that might mean for your brand’s strategy.

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What we know about the Twitter algorithm

There haven’t been any major updates to the Twitter algorithm since the Engineering blog wrote up a pretty in-depth blog post last fall. A big takeaway for marketers:

“Right after gathering all Tweets, each is scored by a relevance model. The model’s score predicts how interesting and engaging a Tweet would be specifically to you. A set of highest-scoring Tweets is then shown at the top of your timeline, with the remainder shown directly below. Depending on the number of candidate Tweets we have available for you and the amount of time since your last visit, we may choose to also show you a dedicated ‘In case you missed it’ module. This modules meant to contain only a small handful of the very most relevant Tweets ordered by their relevance score, whereas the ranked timeline contains relevant Tweets ordered by time. The intent is to let you see the best Tweets at a glance first before delving into the lengthier time-ordered sections.”

How exactly does it decide what it thinks will be engaging to a user? The algorithm looks at:

  • The Tweet itself: its recency, presence of media cards (image or video), total interactions (e.g. number of Retweets or likes)
  • The Tweet’s author: your past interactions with this author, the strength of your connection to them, the origin of your relationship
  • You: Tweets you found engaging in the past, how often and how heavily you use Twitter

Twitter does, however, constantly test its timeline. The things that stick are those that get shared in the big announcements or talks at conferences.

But most importantly to the majority of marketers, Twitter is still the most “timely” of the social media platforms; while its algorithm might surface tweets for you it thinks are important that you might have missed, it’s still largely in reverse-chronological order.

Basically the Twitter algorithm is showing you things in addition to how it has always worked moreso than instead of.

What we know about Twitter video

We don’t know for sure that tweets with media cards- images or video- are weighted more heavily by Twitter’s algorithm, but it stands to reason they were specifically mentioned by Twitter for a reason.

Andrew Hutchinson writes about a renewed push in video from Twitter in Social Media Today:

“Twitter, too, is looking to give video more emphasis – this week, the platform announced a test of new, top of feed modules for breaking events, which will include relevant video tweets, while they’re also, according to Digiday, looking for publishers to create more live shows ‘with segments that can be cut into clips’. Those clips can then be ad-supported, and can reach more viewers than the initial live broadcasts – they’ve cited BuzzFeed’s ‘AM to DM’ as an example of this.”

As for upcoming Twitter features?

“Reports have also suggested Twitter’s working on a video-focused ad offering within Twitter Moments, which could see them look to push Moments’ reach.”

Keep that in mind if your brand is allocating some of your budget toward video advertising on Twitter.

Put them together

So what are the options for your brand to experiment with on Twitter when it comes to video?

You can upload a video directly to a tweet using the mobile app, which looks like this:

You can also upload video to or record directly from the app. All of these encompass the media card we referred to earlier. You can test a few video tweets and see how they perform vs. your other tweets. Experiment with different lengths of video, backgrounds, time of day you tweet them, and other factors to see which your audience responds best to.

There’s also the option to go Live on Periscope, but be sure you have compelling content and a plan before broadcasting. You also want to have a plan for dealing with any trolls that might pop up.

If your Periscope broadcasts get a good response from your audience, you might consider hosting them regularly so your fans and followers know when to expect them and they can tune in at the same time to engage.

Your brand can also try retweeting or quote tweeting your own tweets as part of your remarketing strategy.

Obviously the best way to see if your video strategy is helping your overall Twitter strategy is to measure. Start with a free snapshot report (below), run a free Twitter Assistant, or set up some comprehensive Trackers.

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