Does your Twitter feed look different? According to Twitter VP-Revenue Product Ameet Ranadive, Twitter’s new catch-up feed provides an option for users to have their content algorithmically curated, bumping certain tweets to the top. Here’s what we know so far…

How does the Twitter catch-up feed work?

Until recently, tweets were displayed in reverse-chronological order. Ranadive said, “Now we’re taking recency and we’re adding relevance to make sure that the best and most timely tweets are what’s displayed at the top.” Twitter’s algorithm will look at which accounts and types of tweets a user typically interacts with, their interests and any trends found among people they follow, as well as the behavior of Twitter users with similar interests.

Does the new feed automatically appear?

No. Users are given the option to use the new algorithm to curate content, but it’s not automatically set by default.

How do I turn on the catch-up feed?

Go to your Twitter Settings and scroll down the Content:

Twitter Catch-up Feed

Personally, I followed the instructions to turn it on, and didn’t see anything different. So I logged out and logged back in — I still didn’t see anything different. So I clicked on the “Learn more” link you see above, and according to Twitter:

  • You may see a summary of the most interesting Tweets you received since your last visit, labeled as While you were away.

I don’t see it. Do you see it? Tell me in the comments below.

How many tweets get pushed to the top?

The algorithm will display about a dozen or so tweets that it thinks you may have missed–and would like to see–since you last logged in.

Am I going to see a bunch of ads at the top of my feed now?

Ranadive first said no, but apparently he jumped the gun. In fact, the answer is yes, according to a Twitter spokeswoman who said the catch-up feed will contain ads, and users will be able to scroll past the catch-up section to get to the usual real-time feed.

Does that mean that I can pay for promoted posts so more of my content gets bumped into users’ feeds?

No. Ranadive said, “This is a not pay-to-play platform, unlike our competitors. The best content, whether it’s from a celebrity, another user or a brand, is always going to be what rises to the top.” Apparently, the algorithm is “designed to reinforce the meritocracy of content on Twitter. It will only rank tweets based on organic engagement,” Ranadive continued, “so any retweets or likes that a promoted tweet receives will not factor into that ranking.”

What does it mean for marketers?

Because larger brands tend to have larger followings, they also tend to get more retweets and likes, which means, theoretically, that their unpaid tweets may be more likely to appear in the catch-up feed. If that happens, they could see a snowball effect whereby they get more tweets, which makes them show up in more catch-up feeds, which extends organic reach, which could potentially lead to more retweets and likes — and round and round we go.

What are your thoughts on Twitter’s new catch-up feed? Have you activated it on your account yet? Are you seeing any increases in visibility and reach?

Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.