How does the Twitter algorithm work in 2023?



Wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what a social media platform’s algorithm is looking for so your content can be seen more often? 


Well, lucky for us (and you), Twitter has published their 2023 algorithm! Even luckier, the team at Future Social did the heavy lifting and code-reading for us, giving us a few key updates and insights into the Twitter algorithm.


So, put down your phone (just for a second) and let’s dive into the wild world of Twitter’s 2023 algorithm.


Musk’s Twitter takeover: A timeline of events


Exactly one year has passed since Elon Musk first placed an offer to purchase Twitter in April 2022. A lot has happened in twelve months, so let’s dive in. 


If you already know what’s up with Musk and the insanity that surrounded Twitter over the past year, click here to skip to our juicy algorithm insights.


April 2022: 

  • Musk Tweets that he has made an offer to purchase Twitter for a cool and casual $43 billion, with the intention to take the company private
  • Twitter’s board unanimously accepts Musk’s buyout offer


May, June & July 2022:

  • In May, Musk puts the sale on hold upon learning that up to 5% of Twitter’s daily active users are spam accounts
  • In June, Musk’s attorney sends a letter to Twitter threatening to terminate the sale if Twitter did not provide data detailing the number of active spam accounts. Twitter agrees to provide Musk with a data stream of Tweets
  • In July, Musk again says he will terminate the deal as Twitter has still not provided the spam account data requested. Twitter chairman, Bret Taylor, Tweets that the board plans to pursue legal action to enforce Musk’s Twitter purchase and a formal lawsuit is quickly launched


August & September 2022:

  • Besides one slightly cringe-inducing Tweet from Musk that challenged the Twitter CEO to a debate, all was quiet until October 


October 2022:

(you might want to grab some popcorn for the next two months of events)

  • Musk agrees to proceed with the original sale terms ($54B) with one condition: Twitter drops their lawsuit
  • Reports state that Musk plans to terminate 75% of Twitter’s employees
  • October 26th, Musk changes his Twitter bio to “Chief Twit” and visits Twitter HQ, where he reportedly tells employees that layoffs are coming
  • October 27th, Musk and Twitter officially close the deal. Musk immediately fires Twitter’s CEO, CFO, the head of legal and two general council members.

  • Musk announces that he plans to overhaul the account verification system


November 2022:

  • Musk confirms his paid verification system, “Twitter Blue”, will launch for $8 a month
  • Half of Twitter’s workforce is laid off to cut costs amidst a drop in revenue that Musk blames on … activists?

  • Musk states that Twitter was burning through cash, losing $4 million each day
  • Twitter Blue officially launches and Musk tells the employees that are left that Twitter’s “economic picture ahead is dire”, sparking conversations around filing for bankruptcy
  • Musk pauses Twitter Blue after only a few days due to numerous accounts impersonating brands and public figures and releasing a series of unhinged Tweets (which for the most part was hilarious – see below)

String of Tweets made by Twitter users impersonating brands and notable public figures. Tweet from Elon Musk @elon_rnusk: "Starting today we'll begin offering Twitter Gold: a free subscription that gets you yearly family vacations and nightly dinners with me. If your name is Grimes. Please come back. I love you. Tweet from McDonald's @McDanalds: "Proud to announce that all McDonald's locations will now be serving beyond meat! Our meat is far beyond its expiration date!" Tweet from Chiquita @ChiquitaBrands: "We've just overthrown the government of Brazil." Tweet from Nestlé© @NestleDeathCult: "We steal your water and sell it back to you lol" Tweet from Tesla @TeslaReal: "honestly the 53% drop in stock price doesn't phase us. if there's anvone who knows about crashing it's us"

November 2022 continued:

  • More top executives resign and 80% of contract employees are laid off with no notice
  • Musk offers an ultimatum to remaining employees: Commit to “hardcore” working conditions or resign and receive a three-month severance – most chose the second option
  • After several questionable tweets from Musk, some drama between Apple, Google and Twitter, and numerous software glitches, public opinion of Twitter is at an all-time low – and Musk notices


December 2022 – April 2023:

  • Numerous updates are made to the app, some good and some… less good
  • Exclusive features released to Twitter Blue subscribers
  • Layoffs continue
  • Musk says accounts verified before Twitter Blue would have their blue checkmarks revoked on April 1st, 2023 – but April Fools (unintentionally)! Musk backtracks and says this update would not occur, before changing his mind again, now setting April 20th as the final date for “Legacy Checkmarks”
  • Numerous news organizations bail on Twitter after a “government-funded media” label is placed on major organization accounts
  • The Twitter algorithm is published


Key takeaways from Twitter’s 2023 algorithm


While Twitter’s recent algorithm release only gives us a small glimpse into its full power, it’s still a valuable resource for understanding what types of Tweets are favoured by the algorithm, for brands and organizations that still wish to post there. 


With the rate of change and sporadic decision-making that Musk is known for, this algorithm might not stick around for long, so get on it while it’s around!


Even if we can’t crack the code entirely, we can still make strategic moves to give our Tweets the best chance of being seen.


Here are our 9 key takeaways:


1. Double your reach with Twitter Blue


For $8 a month, Twitter Blue is absolutely worth the cost, so long as you can stomach sending funds to Musk.

Alongside early access to new features and exclusive Twitter Blue features, we now know that Tweets from Twitter Blue users receive a 2-4x higher reach than non-Blue users. 


2. Likes, retweets & replies 


You might think all engagements are good engagements, but according to Twitter’s 2023 algorithm, you thought wrong.


The algorithm reveals that likes and retweets are the golden tickets to high performance, while replies get significantly less love. So, if you want your brand to be seen by the masses, focus on creating content that encourages likes and retweets.


3. Let’s get visual


Now, you might be wondering if images and videos will give you a boost. The answer is yes, but it’s not enough to change your content strategy. 


The algorithm pushes Tweets with visual content out up to 2x more than standard text-only Tweets, but overdoing it can also hurt your overall engagement. 


Basically, don’t go overboard with images and videos just because of the algorithm. Creating strong and likeable content is still king.


4. To link or not to link?


The algorithm gets a bit blurry when we’re talking about adding links to Tweets. 


Unless you’re raking in high levels of engagement, Tweets containing external links are likely to be downranked and even marked as spam. 


So, while links are a valuable tool for social media marketing, it’s important to use them strategically and avoid spamming your followers with unnecessary links.


5. Follower to following ratio


Another important factor to consider is your follower-to-following ratio. Twitter penalizes accounts that follow a ton of people but don’t have many followers in return. 


Let’s be honest, the follow-for-follow tactic was never a great way to build a quality community anyway. Focus on following accounts that make sense for your brand.


6. Proofread before Tweeting


One surprising factor that can severely penalize the ranking of your Tweets is misspelled or made-up words. Twitter’s 2023 algorithm is designed to recognize common languages and interface languages, so if a word is not recognized, it can result in a 0.01 ranking. 


This can be a real bummer if you like to make up words for fun. However, if your tweet is getting engagement, it can still beat the algorithm. Nevertheless, it’s important to spell everything correctly to avoid the risk of being downranked. So, make sure you spellcheck your Tweets before posting them.


7. Stick to your niche


If you want to improve your Twitter content’s algorithmic ranking, it’s important to stick to your niche.


Twitter groups users together based on similar interests and it’s essential to remain within your network’s interests if you want to avoid getting downranked. By staying focused on your niche, you’ll improve your chances of being recommended to the right audience.


So, unlike creating content for TikTok, don’t get weird and stay on-brand. 


8. Say goodbye to hashtags


Despite the fact that hashtags were originally created on Twitter, using too many of them can cause your content to be downranked by the algorithm. It’s surprising but true! To avoid this, limit yourself to using a maximum of one hashtag per tweet, or even better, don’t use any hashtags at all.


9. Engage with trending topics


In lieu of hashtags, engage with trending topics in your niche. When you mention popular topics in your Tweets, the algorithm takes notice and will boost your content. 


There you have it, folks. The key to beating the Twitter algorithm is to focus on creating likable and shareable content, investing in Twitter Blue, using links strategically, avoiding made-up words and staying on brand. 


If shifting your content strategy to Musk’s everchanging and slightly confusing Twitter algorithm isn’t your jam, it is ours! Let Legendary take care of all your social media management needs – learn more here.


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How does the Instagram algorithm work in 2023?

How does the TikTok algorithm work in 2023?


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