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Twitter Nearby – What You Should Know

Published: December 18, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

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Twitter is testing a new version of the timeline that shows tweets that were sent from a nearby location. This could be big news for marketers and users alike, but it might not be all good news. Users can still (at this point) opt out of the service by disabling location sharing with the Twitter app, so let’s examine the pros and cons from the users’ perspective:


1. Users may not want the Nearby application launched (if they have location settings turned on); this could cause them to disable location sharing.
2. The map will take up half of the screen, in effect cutting down a good portion of the user’s feed. This could reduce the impact of promoted tweets, or cause users to abandon the Nearby functionality.
3. New format experiences put forth by social media are often met with initial negative reactions. (See every Facebook News Feed update.) You might want to consider riding out the storm before launching the feature.


1. Real-time info based on location – sales, news, etc. Hear something noisy outside? Chances are someone’s watching and tweeting about it. This might give users a richer experience.
2. High virality possibility of Nearby Tweets.
3. New space in which to interact with other users. It never hurts to have more in common (sharing a nearby physical space) with another person to drive interaction.

What’s in it for Twitter?

The more information a user gives Twitter about their actions on the platform, the more information Twitter can leverage for advertisers. Making their advertising tools more complete allows them to make more money. Twitter has really worked on developing their ads platform, especially in preparation for their IPO announcement. They took steps and provided data that looked at measured success. Development is a big part of their perspective on IPO and company success, so they keep it at the forefront of their plan.

How might Nearby work for marketers?

Nearby brings “real-time” advertising to the next level, especially for advertisers with brick and mortar locations who can use Tweets to lure Nearby Twitter users to their storefront.
As for e-commerce merchants, Nearby may be a little more difficult to apply, depending on how Twitter incorporates the feature for advertisers. It may not get that far, and will simply be another mechanism for gathering user data, such as:
–       What % of people have the Location Services turned on?
–       Of that %, what % is likely to use the Nearby app?
–       Of those likely to use the Nearby app, what % is likely to engage with a Nearby Tweet?
The rabbit hole goes deep, and only time will tell how effective Nearby Tweets will be for marketers.
How do you feel about Nearby Tweets? Will you be using them to drive sales to physical retail locations?

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