Speculation has been brewing among marketers lately over the recent deal struck between Twitter and Google and what this could mean for the digital media landscape as a whole. The companies have reached an agreement that gives Google full access to Twitter’s “firehouse” stream, enabling Google to display tweets in search results as soon as they are posted.
The firehouse supplies nearly 9,000 tweets per second online. [Search Engine Land, 2015]. Given this constant and immense influx of content from Twitter, past efforts of Google to crawl through this content to draw out relevant tweets to display in search results were not very effective. Now, with Google’s complete access to the firehouse they have the ability to produce timely information, a service that Google prides itself on being able to offer, but you may be asking yourself; “What’s in it for Twitter?” and “What’s in it for Marketers?”
What’s in it for Twitter?
You may be surprised to know that, out of the top five social media sites, Twitter has the smallest market share. Over a twelve month period between 2013 and 2014 the number of users who visited the site daily dropped from 46% to 36%. [Search Engine Land, 2015]. Twitter has long trailed behind the mega house social platform; Facebook and now faces the reality of being surpassed by younger media like Instagram and Pintrest. This is exactly why they could use a protective partnership with the giant that is Google.
The increase of visibility in search results will mean marketing prominence for Twitter like they’ve never seen before. The increased visitors Twitter stands to gain from this partnership will result in higher ad revenue, more signups and more engagement for what is currently the runt of the social media litter.
What’s in it for Marketers?
User generated, conversational, global real-time marketing!
Google now has the ability to mark links it sees inside tweets for potential crawling and indexation. The new deal will also see Google looking for situations where lots of tweets appear to be referencing new content that it is not aware of. Therefore, having your content shared via Twitter could help you get SEO traffic to new content sooner than has been possible in the past.
Although Google’s algorithms for this deal are not known it can be predicted that as your engagement grows, so too do your chances that Google will pay attention to your tweets and to the links they include. Studies show the most important factors in driving engagement to be:
At Low Authority Levels, a tweet with an image will generate 5X – 9X as many retweets. [Convince & Concert, 2015]. This does not mean to say that every tweet you post should include an image; this could in fact overwhelm your followers if you are a frequent tweeter. You should, however, ensure you include relevant and eye-catching images when posting content which you deem particularly important.
Hashtags make your tweets more discoverable for users. This acts as a way of categorizing your content and increasing you chances of engaging new followers that are interested in your content.
It is essential that you find a formula that works for you. Ensure you are regularly active and engage with your followers. It is predicted that an account that is showing to be continually improving over time, will warrant more attention from Google. Regular interaction can also lead to gaining influential followers, providing the opportunity for your content to be tweeted and retweeted to a larger audience.
But be careful!
Real-time marketing is risky:
The new partnership increases the longevity of a tweet. This could mean that any embarrassing, failed-attempts at marketing your brand could haunt you in the future.
Brands also need to be wary that tweets, which are relevant and interesting in the moment, align with what you want to express in the future. What’s right for the brand now sometimes isn’t what you want representing the brand a few months of years down the road.
SEO and Social:
Social will now play an increasingly large role in search marketing. With an increasing complex search landscape developing to include Pintrest, Facebook and real-time social content, the landscape is no longer a world dominated by the 3 big engines (Bing, Google and Yahoo).
The new Google-Twitter deal makes Twitter a bigger player on the overall digital media landscape, and it makes Twitter more important to your overall digital strategy. Now is the time to ensure you are setting yourself up to benefit as much as possible. If you already have a strong Twitter focus, this gives you a chance to focus your efforts and get even more out of your social media marketing. If you are just getting started on Twitter, fear not—there is a lot for you to gain over time.