Twitter 2013 Year in Review: Notable Features, News & Research

Ah, how time flies … especially in the Twittersphere – where 140 characters rule and 6 seconds of video say it all.

It seems like just yesterday we were oogling over Twitter Vine, and now, Twitter’s all grown up, staking its claim as a publicly traded company.

It would be bold to say we could recap everything that happened with Twitter this year, but we did compile some of the highlights. Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we?

Notable Twitter News in 2013

The big news for Twitter this year was, of course, filing for an IPO in September. The initial IPO filing shed light on the financial situation of the social giant for the first time, uncovering Twitter’s approximate $419 million deficit.

Twitter IPO Opening Day Volume and Stock Price

More recently, the news on Twitter was its participation with other tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft in the Reform Government Surveillance group, an effort to “address the practices and laws regulating government surveillance of individuals and access to their information.”

Other Twitter news in May of this year hit when Yahoo announced it would “seamlessly include relevant and personalized Tweets alongside stories from Yahoo! and our other sources” right in the search results.


And let’s not forget about the Vatican embracing Twitter, as Pope Francis (@pontifex) took the reigns as the new head of the Catholic Church earlier this year.


Notable Twitter Features in 2013

Twitter kicked off its year of feature releases with Twitter Vine, launched in January, and people and brands all over the world shared the moments of their lives in six seconds or less.

In April, Twitter allowed for keyword targeting for promoted tweets. In May Twitter unveiled a new way for limited users to leverage the social platform for lead gen with “Lead Generation Cards” – a way to collect information and offer resources without users ever having to leave Twitter.


A few months later, it released the feature to all. And in November, Webtrends shared a case study that showed Lead Generation Cards yielded an improved cost per lead by 500 percent.

In early summer, Twitter began testing “related headlines,” which it officially released in August; related headlines curates articles from select publishers under a tweet that shares something newsworthy.

Twitter Related Headlines to Jason Collins Announcement

Another launch this year was Twitter’s television advertising suite, which allowed marketers to “engage directly with people on Twitter who have been exposed to their ads on TV,” Twitter said in its announcement.

Then in November, it launched “conversation targeting” as part of that suite, which allowed advertisers to reach TV viewers engaging in conversation about a particular show, whether or not they originally advertised on television.

And this month, Twitter announced that its ad retargeting service was officially open for business, after much speculation in the summer about its arrival, and a soft launch in July.

As Twitter worked towards enhancing its experience for users, additional notable releases this year included:

New Twitter Search Results for Content Marketing

2013 Twitter Research

Research from this year shed light on Twitter user behavior in general, with some data showing users definitely do have expectations for brands and their engagement level on Twitter.

More than 70 percent of users said they expect to hear back from the brand they’re interacting with on Twitter, according to data by Lithium Technologies. The majority (53 percent) wants that response within the hour.


Another study by TrackMaven highlighted what days of the week and time of day Twitter users were pumping out tweets, and when retweets were most likely to happen. Research showed the most active days were Monday through Friday, but Sunday seemed to be the most promising for retweets.


And if you’re curious, we found out in September that Topsy has every tweet, ever – 425 billion to be exac – in case you have some time on your hands and want to search its database.

Looking Back on 2013 Through the Eyes of Twitter

If nothing else, Twitter is a place for people to share the days of their lives, and the events happening all around them. Recently, Twitter released an interactive year-in-review widget that explores the stories that mattered to people in 2013.

Highlighting the fascination that Twitter users have with the entertainment industry’s stars and their lives, the most popular tweet of 2013 was actress Lea Michelle’s first outreach on Twitter about her boyfriend’s untimely death this year.


Related reading