Looking for ways to maximize your engagement on X, and tap into the latest algorithm shifts?
The X algorithm is being updated regularly, in alignment with Elon’s X vision, and the latest changes could have an impact on your posting strategy, based on what the X team are looking to incentivize.
Replies are being emphasized
According to the code, X is now looking to amplify replies to posts, with replies to content now getting more exposure than even retweets in the main “For You” feed.
Replies are a key component of X’s ad revenue share strategy, with creators getting a share of the ad intake from ads shown in the reply stream. As such, it seems like X is trying to show more eligible ads, by highlighting more replies, which will ideally get even more people engaging in the same conversation, this expanding the potential for ad display.
Conceptually, this could spark more conversations through exposure, but it could also see more conversations that you’re not interested in taking over your main feed. Incentivizing replies will also lead to more engagement bait posts, and those replies may not be as engaging as conversation starters. But it’s an interesting experiment nonetheless, and something that you should factor into your X planning.
X is also looking to put more emphasis on video content, while the "You might like" tag is set to be replaced with "Popular videos".
This is part of X’s broader effort to get more people consuming more video content in the app, which X will then be able to monetize by inserting ads, and generating more revenue share options for video creators.
Elon has said that he wants X to compete with YouTube, while new X CEO Linda Yaccarino is most experienced in selling ads against video content. The launch of Tucker Carlson’s X exclusive show is just the start of what’s likely to be a much bigger video push in the app, and the algorithm is now being re-aligned around this approach, while X is also developing new video viewing controls, and its full-screen video display.
X is also looking to highlight creators that have subscriptions turned on, with more posts and updates from these creators now set to appear in X feeds.
Again, X is keen to build its creator monetization ecosystem, in a bid to win over more top talent, and keep them sharing in the app. That seems to be the motivation in this case, highlighting popular creators to potentially interested users, in order to help them get more paying subscribers in the app.
That could provide more benefit for turning on subscriptions.
Longer post life span
X is also expanding the amount of time that a post is eligible to be displayed in the main feed from 24 hours to 48 hours.
I’m not sure about this one. On one hand, by expanding the potential life of a trending post, that will give X more opportunity to show the best-performing content to even more users. But at the same time, the platform has traditionally been a key source of real-time updates, and this could reduce the value of the feed in this respect.
The concept here seems to be inspired by TikTok, in taking the best content, no matter who or when it was posted, and showing that to as many people as possible, in order to increase engagement. In this sense, X’s approach is still more aligned with trending news, but it may have an impact on real-time updates.
Elon himself has also weighed in to note that posting links is not going to help your post reach:
Since the algorithm recommends posts based on how much time people spend on them, both video and text content posted on this platform naturally get boosted more than links off platform, as the time spent on a link is short— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) August 7, 2023
So if you were looking to use X to get more traffic to your site, which is pretty much every business, it's not the ideal vehicle for such.
X vs Threads
As expected, X is also penalizing mentions of the term ‘Threads’ as well as links to the Meta competitor. Evidently, mentioning other competing social media apps also results in a reach penalty, which is not great news for a dedicated social media news website that has to mention other social apps in its posts every day.
I’m not sure how far this extends in terms of post versus profile deboosting, but mentioning the competition is not something that Elon is open to.
I’d suggest using alternative descriptors, like the thread emoji instead, which many people are already doing.
These are some interesting notes on the latest X updates, and the elements that Elon and Co. are looking to emphasize as they evolve the app. Some of these will have unintended consequences, which is impact of losing so many experienced staff, but maybe, the new X team will also be able to come across new efficiencies and improvements as a result as well, by trying things that other apps have long dismissed.
You can read more on X’s latest algorithm updates here.