This post first appeared on the Social Media Week global blog.
What a Filtered Twitter Means for the Future of Social Media
Twitter users were outraged this week – shocking, we know – to learn that Twitter announced possible plans to switch to an algorithm-drive content feed. If adopted, using Twitter would feel more similar to the user experience on Facebook, which also uses an algorithm-driven feed to filter the content that appears on users’ homepages. The result would eliminate the aspect that many users believe to be Twitter’s greatest strength – a raw stream of information and opinions filtered only by which users choose to follow.
The real question for social media users to ask, however, is not how this change may affect Twitter, but what it means for the future of social media? Facebook and Twitter, the behemoths of social media, have found an effective model for generating revenue from ad dollars, which means we better get used to seeing promoted content across all of our social feeds. The social media advertising industry in the U.S. is projected to be $8.4 billion in 2014 – and grow to $15 billion by 2018.
The Future of Social Advertising
Although we’re all accustomed to incessant and irrelevant Internet advertising by now, consumers will no longer have to suffer through months of banner ads trying to sell them dietary supplements or jeggings after one regrettable Google search. Today, advertisers are finally equipped to actually bring consumers content they desire, or will desire.
More data about consumers’ preferences and desires exists on social media today than ever before. But while advertisers previously lacked the ability to harness such information to deliver worthwhile content, Sysomos’ social technology has progressed to a level where marketers can dive deep into communities of users. This allows them to produce specifically tailored content from what they say, what their friends say and what is said to them – all in real-time. This new technology allows social advertisements to finally deliver to consumers the content they’re actively interested in, and even predict their preferences. It’s the right content, to the right person, at the right time.
So does Twitter’s move to filtered content signal the world’s pending takeover by advertisers? Maybe – but at least we’ll be too engaged on social media to notice.