Twitter finally gave Google access to their tweets again back in February of this year. Apparently Twitter learned, like other publishers, that the IP of their content is not as valuable as you think without people like Google promoting it. So we started seeing some tweets in the Google results recently, for example this SERP for the search term ‘tom brady deflategate’ from May 12th…
(sorry Tom, I’m still a Pats fan but I needed a timely event to check last week for my presentation at Content Marketing Conference in Las Vegas.)
…But those tweets were not necessarily real time. Today Google announced it is showing scrolling tweets on the Google app and on mobile browsers, but not desktop yet. As I was catching up on industry news tonight while watching the Voice finale, yes I like the Voice, I saw real time scrolling tweets in action for a search for “the voice” on my iPhone:
The “Popular on Twitter” tweets did not appear first in the organic mobile SERPs, you have to scroll down a bit past the “News” listings on Google. But they are there and they are scrolling/real time just like they did years ago before Twitter closed the data hose to Google.
So what does this mean for Google, Twitter, mobile SERPs, news listings, tweets, ads?
I think Google is testing the search engine user’s desire for tweets. If click through rates increase on tweets in the SERPs I suspect you’ll see Tweets appear above the News listings, at least for certain searches. You’ll also start to see Tweets appear for more searches, but not all. Google is all about user experience, some searches are not satisfied by tweets and traditional listings are just fine. I also think you’ll continue to see more Tweets on mobile SERPs than desktop. When you are on your phone you are more accustomed to scanning short form content like tweets.
If this is the case then could that purported acquisition offer from Google that Twitter turned down years ago be back on the table? Yes the purchase price would have to dwarf the original offer, but Facebook is really gaining momentum as far as mobile usage and more importantly mobile advertising. Mobile continues to be a
struggle opportunity area for Google advertising. Twitter advertising hasn’t taken off as well as expected. Combine Google’s existing sales infrastructure with Twitter’s additional mobile real estate and it seems to solve both companies problems. Not to mention the overall consumer insights full access to tweet data provides Google for product development and overall ad sales strategy. I guess time will tell but I’d love to be a fly on the wall of some Google and Twitter board meetings.
What does it mean for marketers?
If you’ve been second guessing the effectiveness of your tweets, keep at it. The additional visibility on Google could be significant, at least for high profile accounts. Unfortunately I don’t see my tweets flooding Google SERPs any time soon but if you are a true Twitter influencer then your reach will most likely get a big boost with the added Google placements.