Categories Growth Hacks, Twitter

Twitter Algorithm: What It Is and How to Make It Work for You in 2023

Platforms like Facebook and Twitter have completely changed how we communicate and consume information. And while these platforms are constantly evolving, one thing has remained constant – the algorithm.

Algorithms have been a part of social media since its inception, and they will continue to be a significant factor in how users interact with content on these platforms. Designed to provide the best possible user experience, algorithms are constantly being updated and refined to achieve this goal.

For example, the Twitter algorithm has had several changes over the years.

In 2018, the platform updated its algorithm to help filter harassing messages and inappropriate content. This change was designed to create a safer environment and a trustworthy user experience.

In 2020, Twitter changed its algorithm, focusing on combating misinformation.

Under the new algorithm, tweets that contain false or misleading information will be less visible in users’ timelines. This change was made in response to the spread of fake news on social media platforms during the 2016 US Presidential Election.

In 2022, Twitter’s algorithm has changed once again.

The Twitter Algorithm Explained

Twitter is powered by multiple algorithms that manage every detail of what appears on the platform. This ranges from recommended accounts users might want to follow to popular tweets at any moment.

The main algorithm that users interact with is the one that determines what appears on their timeline. This algorithm is constantly running in the background, sorting and sifting through tweets to find the most relevant to each user.

The algorithm looks at various factors to determine which tweets should be shown on a user’s timeline.

These factors include:

  • The user’s past interactions on Twitter
  • The popularity of the tweet
  • The number of engaged users (retweets, likes, comments)
  • The recency of the tweet
  • The type of content in the tweet

These are just a few factors the algorithm takes into account. However, the exact weighting of these factors is constantly changing as Twitter updates the algorithm.

How Has Twitter’s Algorithm Changed in 2022?

In 2022, Twitter made several changes to its algorithm. The most significant of these changes is the introduction of “Topic Scores.” These are designed to surface tweets on specific topics that users might be interested in.

How is a Topic Score calculated?

Twitter looks at the engagement around tweets on that topic. This includes factors like the number of tweets about the topic, how often those tweets are retweeted, and how constantly users search for the topic.

Based on these factors, Twitter assigns each topic a score. The higher the score, the more likely it is that tweets about that topic will be shown in users’ timelines.

In addition to Topic Scores, Twitter allows users to switch between the Home or Latest tweets timelines. The Home timeline is still algorithmically determined, while the Latest timeline shows tweets in reverse chronological order.

This change was made in response to user feedback that they wanted more control over what appeared in their timelines. Users can switch between the two timelines by going to their settings.

Understanding Twitter’s Timeline

Now that we’ve looked at how the Twitter algorithm works in 2022, let’s look at how it affects what users see on their timelines.

When you open Twitter, your Home timeline is the first thing you’ll see. This timeline comprises tweets from people you follow and on topics that Twitter thinks you’ll be interested in.

The algorithm looks at your past interactions on the platform to determine which tweets it thinks you’ll want to see.

For example, if you’ve liked, commented, or retweeted similar content in the past, the algorithm is more likely to surface those types of tweets in your timeline.

In addition, the algorithm also considers the popularity of a tweet and how recently it was posted. The algorithm is designed to show users the most popular and relevant content at any given moment.

If a tweet is viral and receiving a lot of engagement, it’s more likely to appear in your timeline, even if you don’t follow the person who posted it.

president biden

President Biden’s single-word tweet became viral and appeared on users’ timelines who don’t even follow him.

The algorithm also gives preference to newer content. So, if you last opened Twitter a while ago, the first thing you’ll see when you open the app is a timeline full of the most recent tweets.

You can also switch to the “Latest” timeline at any time. This timeline shows tweets in reverse chronological order, so the most recent tweets will always appear at the top.

To switch to the Latest timeline, go to your settings and toggle the “Show me the best tweets first” option off.

What Are the Primary Ranking Signals of Twitter’s Algorithm?

As we’ve seen, the Twitter algorithm takes a lot of different factors into account when ranking tweets.

First, however, the algorithm looks at a few primary signals when determining which tweets to surface.

1. Recency

One of the primary ranking signals of the Twitter algorithm is recency. The algorithm is designed to show users the most recent tweets first.

This is why you’re more likely to see tweets from people you follow at the top of your timeline. Even if those tweets are not getting a lot of engagement, they’re still being given preference because they’re new.

The recency signal is also why you’re more likely to see newer content from people you follow, even if you last interacted with them a while ago.

If someone you follow tweets something new, it’s more likely to appear at the top of your timeline than an older tweet from that same person, even if the older tweet has more engagement.

2. Relevance

The algorithm considers what you’ve tweeted about and what you’ve liked, commented on, and retweeted.

Based on this information, it determines which tweets you’re most likely to find interesting. In addition, if you’ve engaged with similar content in the past, the algorithm is more likely to surface that type of content on your timeline.

The algorithm also looks at the overall popularity of a tweet when determining its relevance.

If a tweet gets a lot of engagement from other users, it’s more likely to appear in your timeline, even if you don’t follow the person who posted it.

3. Engagement

The algorithm gives preference to tweets that get a lot of engagement, such as likes, comments, and retweets.

Tweets with high engagement are more likely to appear in your timeline, even if they’re not from people you follow. This is because the algorithm interprets high engagement as a sign that the tweet is interesting and relevant.

The algorithm also looks at the types of engagements a tweet is receiving.

For example, a tweet that gets a lot of likes is more likely to surface than a tweet that only receives a few likes. This is because Likes are considered a weaker form of engagement than other actions, such as comments and retweets.

kent roth

Example of a simple, funny, yet highly engaging tweet

The algorithm interprets a high number of likes as a sign that the tweet is popular but not necessarily relevant or interesting.

On the other hand, tweets that receive comments and retweets are more likely to surface because they’re seen as more valuable engagement. Again, this is because comments and retweets show that users are taking the time to interact with the content, which strongly indicates that it’s relevant.

4. Rich Media

Tweets with rich media, such as images, videos, and GIFs, are more likely to appear in your timeline than tweets without media. This is because rich media tweets are more engaging than tweets without media.

The Twitter algorithm also favors tweets that include certain types of media.

For example, tweets with images are more likely to be seen than tweets with videos. This is because images require less time and effort to process than videos.

The Twitter algorithm also prioritizes tweets with native video over those with embedded video. This is because native video delivers a higher level of user enjoyment and is less likely to drive people away from Twitter.

Now that you know how the Twitter algorithm works, you can optimize your content strategy to ensure more people are seeing your tweets.

Here are a few tips:

1. Create Tweets That Are Relevant to Your Audience

By taking into account what you know about your audience’s interests, you can create tweets that are more likely to be relevant to them.

This will help ensure that your tweets appear in their timeline more often. Keeping your information relevant will also help you avoid being marked as spam by the algorithm.

One example of creating tweets relevant to the audience was Lyft during the 2016 election.

By timing tweets and marketing campaigns with current events, you’re able to get a stronger boost in engagement and ensure more eyes see the message:


2. Engage With Other Users’ Content

Engaging with other users’ content is a great way to increase the chances of your tweets being seen.

You’re more likely to show up in their timeline when you like, comment on, or retweet someone else’s tweet. And if their followers see your name in their timeline, they’re more likely to check out your profile and start following you.

A case study on Wendy’s, the popular restaurant chain, proves that engaging with users’ comments can lead to viral response chains that increase engagement and followers.

kai lawns

3. Use Rich Media in Your Tweets

As we mentioned, tweets with rich media are more likely to be seen by users. So, if you want to increase the visibility of your tweets, include images, videos, and GIFs whenever possible.

Not only will this help your tweets get more engagement, but you may also begin developing a following of users who enjoy your rich media content and share it with others.

Nissan Motors is a great example of how you can use rich media in your tweets to catch your users’ attention and encourage them to interact with your posts to take polls, enter giveaways, or vote on topics.

Nissan Motors

4. Post at Strategic Times

While there is no perfect time to post on Twitter, some times are better than others.

Generally, the best times to post are during weekday mornings, evenings, and weekends. But, you’ll need to experiment a bit to see what works best for your audience and your tweeting schedule.

To help automate your social media posting, you can use solutions like SocialPilot to help you plan your tweets out over a period of time.

Tweets Effortlessly

By scheduling your posts ahead of time, you can ensure your social media activity remains consistent and that you never miss an opportunity to share content with your followers.

5. Use Hashtags to Reach a Wider Audience

Hashtags are a great way to reach users who are not following you.

When you use hashtags in your tweets, you’re more likely to appear in searches and timelines of users interested in that topic.

Hashtags also help you connect with other users talking about the same thing.

Remember that you should only use a few hashtags per tweet, as using too many can make your tweet seem spammy.


6. Incorporate FAQs

If you want to make sure as many people see your tweets as possible, try incorporating FAQs into them.

People are always searching for answers to their questions online, and if you can provide a helpful answer in a tweet, you’re more likely to get engagement and followers.

Brands like Jet Blue and Nike take their customer service to the next level by using Twitter to respond quickly to customer complaints or hot-topic questions regarding their products or services.

nike support
nike support

This public reactiveness to customer service issues helps to set them apart from other brands that don’t offer convenient ways for customers to get answers to their questions.

Twitter: An Ever-Changing Algorithm

The Twitter algorithm constantly evolves, but there are effective ways brands can ensure they maximize the results of their social media efforts. This involves keeping your posts consistent, relevant, SEO optimized and providing useful information for a wider audience.

By understanding the important factors that Twitter’s algorithm uses to identify and promote relevant content, you can quickly capitalize on the platform’s extensive reach and grow your follower count.

Frequently Asked Questions

🌟 Why are my tweets not getting any views?

Your tweets may not get any views due to various factors, such as lack of engaging content, the timing or frequency of your posts, or lack of relevant hashtags. You may also be using the wrong keywords or not targeting the right audience of viewers.

🌟 How can I make my tweets more engaging?

There are a few things you can do to make sure your tweets stand out from the rest:

  • Use strong visuals that tell a story or convey a message
  • Use hashtags sparingly and only when they will add value to your tweet
  • Keep your language clear and concise
  • Be creative with how you use Twitter's features (threads, @mentions, etc.)

🌟 How frequently should I tweet?

The frequency of your tweets should depend on how much content you have to share and the engagement level you want to achieve. The ideal number of tweets to post daily is between one and three, which allows for a balanced mix of quality content and engagement from followers. However, tweeting more often may be beneficial if you actively try to increase your visibility.

🌟 How long should my tweets be?

Tweets should typically not exceed 280 characters, but shorter tweets are preferable to keep your audience engaged. Aim for 140 characters or less. Keeping the message concise will ensure that it gets noticed and retweeted. Consider linking to blog posts or other content. This will give followers more information while encouraging them to engage.

Author: Torrey Tayenaka

Torrey Tayenaka is the co-founder and CEO at Sparkhouse, an Orange County based social video production company. He is often asked to contribute expertise in publications like Entrepreneur, Single Grain, and Forbes. He has also founded the companies Eva Smart Shower, Litehouse & Forge54.