Twitter has been on an announcement binge as of late, and assuming it’s factual, and not just a bunch of PR…it’s all very relevant to marketers. 

As our Social Media Manager Matt Owen has already pointed out we get a lot of traffic (and hence new members) from Twitter, so these changes to search history and mobile search experience are important to us. I did some A/B testing with the old iOS app, and then the new one and came away unimpressed however. Twitter PR, feel free to send someone our way to correct any inaccuracies!

According to Twitter, upgrades have gone into effect on mobile that put “Tweets, user accounts, images, news, related searches, and more – into a single stream of results.”

Beyond just a new UI, the Twitter engineering team went through great length in the post linked to above to explain that “burstiness” (hey — you can’t make this stuff up) will weigh into each content type to predict the most likely content that should surface for a query.

Errrr???

So basically, this is more of the same old message for content marketers, but specific to the Twitter platform: get influential (i.e. people with a lot of followers) people to share/discuss your links and they will surface first in search.

The design/UI changes

As you can see from the screenshots below (both taken from the iOS app on iPad…one before upgrading to ver 5.3 and one after) the only difference to the appearance of search results is that media (photos/videos) have now been moved up top, and the link to switch to user accounts (or people) got buried a bit further down. Whoa!! Slow down Twitter…you’re losing me with your innovation. How much are you paying these devs??

Does new Twitter search actually work?

I must admit I’ve always been a bit baffled by Twitter search. Never really found it helpful or useful for finding new information leads or people related to a subject matter. Why else has an entire industry popped up around “influencer outreach.”

But hey, I decided shiny new release, lets give it its day.

We actually had a perfect test case for this in part of our marketing plan for the new industry awards we are hosting: The Digitals 

In order to help online buzz/chatter (specifically on Twitter) around the awards, we created a “Superstar of the Week” leaderboard around the hashtag: #thedigitals, and thanks to the startup powering it (Leaderboarded) as well as our own social media management, we know quite well who has been tweeting/discussing the awards the most using this hashtag.

So off I go to see who Twitter recommends for the search:

I can safely say with full assurance, that Twitter search is useless, as not a single one of these people is up on our board, or has tweeted the hashtag #thedigitals over the last 3-4 weeks.

So Twitter, tell me, why am I seeing these people and not my tribe??