With social media becoming a channel embraced more and more by businesses, we are seeing instances of brand reputation issues and general social media meltdowns becoming more and more commonplace. However, brands now have another challenge or opportunity to think about. Earlier in 2015 Google and Twitter announced a deal whereby the search engine would gain access again to the Twitter firehose and it is only just now that we are seeing the impact that it is having.
Tweets started to appear on mobile search around May this year, but over the last week people started to notice that tweets were now appearing in Desktop searches and it escalated with Mozcast now reporting around 9% of all queries were returning tweets in desktop Google search as of the 22nd August.
So what does this mean for brands?
Well firstly, I see it as a huge opportunity to claim back some real estate on the first page of Google for your brand terms. This is a good opportunity for anyone who may have a reputation management issue and it is in essence pushing down other listings, as the tweets are usually displayed just below the sitelinks (see below).
You will notice that the images are actually pulled through as well, which I think will have a strong pull to increase click through rate, so as a brand you should really be looking to make every tweet count as this is not only real estate on the first page that you own, but you control it in real time (tweets pull through instantly).
When this first rolled out, I was digging around doing some testing and I mentioned the following to an ex colleague Rhys Wynne. He is responsible for running the website and social media for his hometown club of Colwyn Bay. You will notice below that for the search term “Colwyn Bay”, that this new functionality actually presents the football club with a huge opportunity of getting their content further up the first page (probably in a position that the website listing will probably never realistically achieve).
Not just brand searches
This functionality is not restricted just to brand searches, you will also see it triggered on what Google determines to be a trending topic or newsworthy. If you select a search term such as “Armando Iannucci” (he was trending at time this article was written), you will notice that Google is actually displaying tweets aggregated from a Twitter search as opposed to just his tweets. It appears that for trending topics, it tends to be selected tweets that are pulled through, either verified accounts and/or media accounts that are relevant.
I am quite sure that we will see this evolve over time and it will be interesting to see the knock-on impact in terms of brands social media following.
Is it an opportunity for Twitter to gain more new users and for brands to gain more followers, as Twitter becomes more front of mind to the wider general public?
Either way it does signal the continued change of the search engine as we knew it, and the move away from 10 listings on the first page for a specific search term.
Let me know your thoughts below in the comments.