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How Does Twitter Decide What Is Trending?

Have you been wondering how Twitter compiles its trending hashtags? For example, if a celebrity made a controversial tweet or posted something inappropriate, Twitter would add the hashtag among the trending sections in just a few hours.

But with millions of tweets and hashtags being posted on the platform every minute, how do they decide what’s trend worthy and what’s not? 

You can have many followers but still, struggle to get one of your tweets in the trending section. Growing Twitter followers will definitely increase your relevancy score, but that alone may not be enough to make your tweets trend-worthy.

First, you must familiarise yourself with the Twitter trend algorithm to know what to do to grow your tweets’ engagements and relevancy score. In this article, we’ll show you what things Twitter takes into account when awarding relevancy scores to tweets. 

9 Factors Twitter’s Algorithm Uses to Rank Trendy Posts

Before we proceed to the specifics, you should know that Twitter constantly changes its algorithm. The social media website runs a series of tests every month, and according to its product manager, Deepak Rao, the algorithm changes daily and sometimes weekly. 

Twitter’s timeline comprises three major sections:

  • Ranked tweets
  • In case you missed it
  • The remaining tweets are arranged in reverse chronological order

Each time you launch Twitter, the tweets from the accounts you follow are given a score and ranked based on different factors analyzed by their algorithm. 

Here are some of those factors:

  1. The Tweet

The algorithm considers the time the tweet was made if any media was shared (photos or videos), and engagements received (retweets, favorites, clicks, and time viewers spent on the tweet).

The tweet’s length may also be significant depending on the discussed topic. For some topics, a short tweet may be given more relevance, while in some cases, medium and long tweets may be deemed interesting and thus awarded a high relevancy score.

  1. Interactions With the Tweet’s Author

How were your previous interactions with the tweet’s author? What is your level of connection to the author, and how did your relationship start? Past interactions with an author will increase the likelihood of you seeing more of their tweets.

Liking, retweeting, and commenting on tweets even from authors you haven’t followed will make Twitter’s algorithm show you more tweets from said accounts. 

  1. Credibility Rating of Author

A credibility score will be awarded based on the author’s relationship and interactions with other platform users. For example, authors followed by several high-profile accounts tend to receive high credibility scores.

However, posting spam content may lead to a reduction in credibility score, leading to a low relevance score. 

  1. Relevancy of the Author

An author may be found relevant for certain topics due to having high engagement on tweets relating to said topics. That may be facilitated by other Twitter users mentioning the author on related topics and actively engaging in their tweets. 

  1. Author Metrics

Twitter may also consider metric factors such as the author’s age and account, location, total tweets posted, the number of followers and follows they have, and the ratio of followers to accounts. 

  1. Language

Twitter considers the language used in tweets when awarding relevance scores. That’s because some Twitter users only speak their local language or prefer engaging in tweets made in their local languages. For example, a tweet made in French may not interest English speakers and vice versa.

  1. Time

Twitter’s algorithm may favor tweets made at a specific time over others. For example, tweets mentioning “tea” and “coffee” posted between 7:00 am, and 11:00 am may be deemed more relevant than others posted simultaneously.

  1. Topics

Users can choose topics they want to follow across the social media platform. As a result, popular posts relating to the topic you selected may be given more relevance than those that don’t. Twitter will also show you posts from topics you didn’t select but have frequently engaged with.

  1. Reply to Tweets

In most cases, Twitter’s algorithm will prioritize new interesting tweets over replies made to previous popular tweets. However, you may see reply tweets below the primary tweet, especially if they are from the following accounts. 

The Three Main Sections of Twitter Timeline

After the algorithm is done considering the factors listed, Twitter will put tweets that it thinks would interest you the most in the first two sections, that is, “ranked tweets” and “in case you missed it” sections.

  • Ranked Tweets

The “ranked tweets” section appears at the top of your timeline and is not much different from how a regular timeline looks; you may not be able to tell the difference at first glance.

But unlike a regular timeline, this section only contains tweets that Twitter regards as relevant for you. In most cases, many of the suggested ranked tweets appear due to followed accounts liking and commenting on them.

  • In Case You Missed It

It does what its name suggests; it shows you tweets that might have been of interest to you but did not appear in your regular timeline, since they are from a while ago. You will likely get this module in your timeline if you have been away from the social media website for several hours or days.

Like the ranked tweets section, the tweets displayed in this section will be the ones Twitter considers relevant to you. They’ll also be arranged according to their relevance, the only difference being that they would be old tweets.

  • Remaining Tweets

After going through the two sections listed above, the last section you’ll encounter is the  “remaining tweet.”

In this section, you will see all remaining tweets from accounts followed, but in this case, they’ll be sorted according to the original reverse-chronological order used in the old Twitter timeline.

In this section and the ones already mentioned, you will be able to see promoted tweets, retweets, and suggestions of accounts to follow.

Twitter may also show tweets from accounts you haven’t followed that it perceives as relevant and interesting per your account’s engagements. If you are on the mobile app version, you may find “events” featured at the top of your timeline, labeled as “happening now.” 


Twitter uses a sophisticated algorithm when deciding which relevant score to award to tweets and authors.

If you don’t know what the algorithm considers when deciding on trending topics, you may experience challenges getting your tweet to the top of the trending section.

So take note of the factors we listed above and avoid spamming tweets to grow your account’s engagement and make your tweets popular.   

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