Twitter is testing a new feature that allows users to receive push notifications when they search certain keywords, The Verge reported Wednesday. Twitter user David Papp discovered the feature and posted about it on Twitter on Tuesday, The Verge said. The next day, Papp received the following push notification from Twitter: You may have missed these Tweets from Washington Post Politics, with links to four of his tweets about the 2016 presidential election that included terms like polls and debates. Twitter Tests ‘Search Subscribe’ Feature to Send Push Notifications for Search Terms

How the subscription feature works

Users will see a box at the top of their Twitter app that says Notify me when people tweet about: [enter topic here]. They can type in any topic they want and, once they do, they’ll start receiving notifications whenever someone tweets about it. When an alert pops up, users have two options: swipe up on their phone screen to view a snapshot of who tweeted about that topic along with a summary of their tweet or click on View Tweet to see all of those details inside Twitter. If users choose not to turn off push notifications after trying out Search Subscribe, they will continue receiving alerts.

The types of topics you can subscribe to

Headlines, Tweets, or Tweets with photos. For example: You can choose to get a push notification every time Twitter sends out a tweet that has a certain hashtag, or if someone starts following an account you want to track. So it’s really just alerts based on search terms and subscriptions set up by users. In other words, if you wanted alerts for any news about Beyoncé that appears on Twitter, you could do that (except during her album release week, of course). The one exception is breaking news:

Twitter Tests Search Subscribe Feature to Send Push Notifications for Search Terms
Twitter Tests ‘Search Subscribe’ Feature to Send Push Notifications for Search Terms

when news breaks on Twitter and it’s still being reported on and updated frequently as new details are discovered, only those tweets will be delivered in notifications. All others will wait until the breaking news story stops being updated so they don’t become cluttered.

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Why this is useful

Twitter’s testing a new feature called Search Subscribe that will send push notifications when you search certain terms on Twitter. As The Next Web reports, there are some limitations right now: This is only available to Android users and it’s currently limited to English (users in other countries should be getting notifications by August). You’ll also need to be following Twitter’s @WhoToFollow account. There are no ads with these push notifications, and as far as we can tell, there isn’t an option in settings that allows you to turn them off. But if you find yourself wishing that your Twitter feed was less cluttered and more focused on a certain topic or keyword, it could be worth signing up.

Additional information

search subscribe is only available in English so far, but users who have opted into search can see a bell icon next to their names on some public profiles that is reserved for notifications. The icon appears when people search a term, and Twitter will send an alert when someone new subscribes to your search results. Users can then decide whether they want those alerts turned off or unfollowed if they no longer wish to be notified. A Twitter spokesperson said We’re always experimenting with new ways to make it easier and faster for people to follow topics that are important to them. If you’re not receiving notifications, you may need go into your Twitter settings and activate them (under Notifications & Sounds) by checking off which kinds of alerts you want.

Twitter Tests Search Subscribe Feature to Send Push Notifications for Search Terms
Twitter Tests ‘Search Subscribe’ Feature to Send Push Notifications for Search Terms

Is it right for you?

Twitter is testing a new feature that can alert users about tweets that contain specific search terms, according to a new report from The Next Web. Though Twitter has had notifications before, they were only targeted at accounts a user follows. This new test looks more like Facebook’s News Feed—and potentially provides something of an answer to Google Now on Android phones. Users who are part of Twitter’s test will get push notifications when they’ve searched for something and have set up those results as search subscribe topics in their settings menu. As with Google Now, these alerts will include top stories based on your preferences and nothing you follow directly, giving you news-aggregation as well as real-time updates whenever someone searches with one of your topics.

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The difference between this and retweets, mentions, searches, etc.

Twitter is apparently testing a new feature that will let users opt-in to notifications when certain keywords are searched. For example, if you had a business page and wanted customers to be notified whenever someone in your region is searching for something related to your product or service, they could subscribe to those results. Currently, there’s no limit on how many times subscribers would receive notifications when they choose specific terms or topics. Unlike retweets and mentions, where users can mute hashtags or accounts as often as needed, it appears as though subscribers can only turn off notifications entirely; which is an interesting approach. Why?

Final thoughts on subscribing by topic

For years, Twitter has been a one-way platform—users only see what others are tweeting. That’s why today’s experiment is an interesting departure for Twitter. For many users, receiving push notifications when specific topics appear in their search results will be useful. It should also be noted that users must subscribe to multiple search terms before receiving those notifications; so if you’re interested in tech and startups, you can choose tech and startups from your list of interests but only receive push alerts when both of those terms are mentioned on Twitter. This could change with future iterations of search subscribe but it stands as it is today. Either way, if you’re looking to add a new dimension of usefulness to your Twitter usage, give search subscribe a try.

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Final thoughts on subscribing by keyword

Search is becoming a major source of traffic, with 40% of users now reporting that they discover brands on Twitter using it. Twitter has been testing search subscribe to facilitate these users and hopefully find new opportunities around attracting advertisers. The search subscription feature allows you to receive push notifications when there are relevant or timely conversations that include your keyword, including mentions from people you do not follow. It will allow you to follow them, as well as like their Tweets or replies. Be sure your brand monitors search terms and stays proactive by participating in trending discussions – especially those involving potential customers who might be saying things about your brand in other channels (such as Facebook groups or LinkedIn groups). Do not miss out on an opportunity; engage!

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