In its early years, like many other social platforms, Twitter presented content in a reverse chronological order that showed the freshest content first. As the user base and feature set of Twitter and these other social platforms grow, there’s too much content to keep up with in a simple chronological order. That’s where the current Twitter algorithm comes in, using different ranking factors to show users posts they think they’ll like.

While this is a plus for users, whenever an algorithm is implemented or updated, it leaves many marketers concerned that the hard work they put into their content and social media strategy is going unnoticed. Changes to the Twitter algorithm are no different, but fortunately there are methods to adjust your strategy and keep up with your social marketing goals.

While it might seem intimidating, understanding the Twitter algorithm to gain organic reach is easier than you might think. In this article, we’re gonna take a look at how the Twitter algorithm has evolved into what it is today, and how you can use it to your benefit.

Not everyone loves to have an algorithm determine the content they see online. That’s why Twitter gives people a choice: the Home timeline (aka Top Tweets) or Latest Tweets. In other words, Twitter algorithm or no algorithm.

But the truth is, Twitter algorithms are sort of unavoidable. From Trends to Topics to the Explore tab to recommended accounts, algorithms all the time show users personalized recommendations. Twitter itself says machine learning (aka algorithms) “can impact hundreds of millions of Tweets per day.”

This means that, as a company, you need to optimize your Tweets to be picked up by the algorithm to have your content seen by the right people.

What is the Twitter algorithm?

First, let’s clarify one thing. Twitter is powered by multiple algorithms determining all aspects of how content is served on the platform. This includes everything from recommended accounts to top Tweets. Like most social media algorithms, Twitter’s algorithms are all about personalization.

When most people talk about the Twitter algorithm, they mean the one that powers the Home feed timeline (also known as the top Tweets view). Here’s how Twitter itself describes the algorithmic Home timeline:

“A stream of Tweets from accounts you have chosen to follow on Twitter, as well as recommendations of other content we think you might be interested in based on accounts you interact with frequently, Tweets you engage with, and more.”

The Twitter feed algorithm doesn’t affect the main timeline for those using the Latest Tweets view, a simple list of Tweets from followed Topics and accounts in reverse-chronological order. But it does structure the timeline for those using Home view.

Twitter algorithms also power Twitter Trends, Topics, and recommendations, which appear in the Notifications tab (and come through as push notifications), on the Explore page and in the Home timeline.

 

When Twitter first came out in 2006, it had a simple timeline structure and Tweets were displayed in reverse chronological order from the people you followed.

This was great in the beginning, but as more users joined Twitter, it became nearly impossible to keep up with the thousands of Tweets one user would receive on their timeline in a day. Which is why, as time went on, new algorithms were introduced.