What you will see here is an in-depth analysis of more than 2 million tweets in western language, out of 4 million collected. The result of this analysis will help you learn what elements drive behaviors on Twitter.
This article focuses on driving factors that increase retweets, replies, and favorites. For instance, you can get 4 times as many retweets on image-oriented tweets as compared with normal tweets.
Before we start with Twitter, we would like to share this comprehensive infographic (provided by around.io) on how to increase engagement on social media in general.
It’s time to be Twitter-centered now and learn from the following study…
The analysis included the following key factors:
- Including media – it is broken into number of pieces of media
- Including hashtags in a tweet and the number of hashtags included per tweet.
- Length of Hashtags
- Number of characters in a tweet
- Including Links in a tweet, and the number of links included per tweet
- Shared link’s domain authority
- Including mentions and their number
Along with these factors, Followerwonk is used to gauge Twitter users’ social authority. It will help find the impact of their tweets on behaviors. The social authority is broken down into different levels: 1-9, 10-19 and so on till 99.
Another interesting thing to note is the impact of tactics used and their variety by social authority. This is not only unique but also a more important aspect of this analysis.
The regions included in the western language tweets are North and South America, Europe, Tweets in Arabic, Japanese, Thai, Cyrillic and other are not covered in this post.
Of those 4 million tweets:
- 1,943,321 tweets are in Western language
- 1,164,958 tweets are in Script-based languages, such as Arabic, Persian, Japanese, and others
- Remaining data has retweets and favorites
Breaking the data of over 1.9 million tweets in terms of Social Authority gives following stats.
Each one of the users tweeted differently. Altogether, the tweet count is 1.94 million and it is broken as follows, in terms of social authority:
2. Break-up of 1.94 million tweets in terms of social authority
And here is a chart with some representatives of each social authority, to give you an idea of the importance of each social authority. You can easily figure out yours.
3. Chart showing people (sample) with different social authority levels ranging between 1 and 100.
Some of you might want to know the reason of analyzing so many tweets. The primary reason of analyzing a large number of tweets is to measure the results as accurately as possible. Small data always have less significance and less accuracy.
Let’s suppose, you issue a single tweet and it generates more than a million re-tweets. Would you say that every tweet receives 1 million re-tweets? No Way! Size of 1 is not significant in statistics. While analyzing a large number of categories and deduce a meaningful conclusion, it is important to have a massive data to support it. Moreover, every tweet is different and every tweet doesn’t necessarily have all the above-mentioned factors.
Take an example of the category 90 – 99. There are more than 21000 re-tweets from 266 users. Upon shrinking this data to a smaller sample, let’s suppose, 100,000 Tweets, then the sample set of this category will go down from 21000 to 1000 tweets, and the number of users will reduce from 266 to 12. Segregating their tweets in terms of the factors used, the data will have reduced to few hundred tweets from approximately 5 to 6 users.
Factors like media vs. SAL (social authority level), hashtag length, or time of the day vs. authority level always require a large number of data to help you come up with better insight and highly accurate results.
Although it’s quite a challenge to analyze millions of tweets, it helped a great deal digging deep and find out how things work on this social platform.
Total vs. Any Engagement
The analysis is based on two perspectives to look at all the data.
- Chances Engagement: This is the concept of analyzing the number of original tweets with at least one favorite or re-tweet. Although it won’t tell how many re-tweets or favorites a tweet receives, it will surely help identify measures to create original tweet to get an initial response.
- Total Engagement: A sum total of re-tweets or favorites received by original tweets under consideration. It helped us identify that a tweet with an image can get 4 times more re-tweets than a tweet without an image.
Here is how we saw the tweets in two different perspectives:
Analyzing tweets on these two perspectives helped a great deal finding out differences in behaviors that increase probabilities of getting re-tweets. As far as the mentions in tweets are concerned, these two perspectives proved highly effective.
The data of tweets was pulled out with the help of Twitter API from the Twitter feeds. In this way, a large sample of users was collected. More than 27000 users belonged to Western Language group while 15000+ users used scrip-based languages.
In this phase, at least 100 tweets of every user were collected with the help of Twitter API. Apart from Twitter API, other helpful sources were also used, including Moz.com and Followerwonk’s Social Authority, and others.
After collection, each of the Tweet was analyzed and evaluated on the basis of the following:
- Each user’s social authority from followerwonk
- The character count of every tweet
- Content of every tweet
- Tweet-creation time (and date) using Twitter
- Whether the tweet is a retweet
- Whether the tweet is a reply
- Number of retweets
- Number of favorites to the tweet
- Number of hashtags used in a tweet and their lengths
- How many users are mentioned in a tweet?
- Number of Links in a tweet
- Link’s and domain authority of each
- Media (number) attached to the tweet
- URL for each shared media item and the kind of media for first URL link
- Number of symbols ($) used in tweet
- Identifying mentioned user’s id with social authority
This particular information along with additional data was collected were fed into SQL database. Following is a detailed result of this study.
1. Social Authority’s Impact on Behaviors
You might be aware of the fact that social authority has a huge role to play in your tweets. Your position and your status in society determine the ability of your tweet to get a re-tweet. Following figure shows, if you’re a powerful figure, how your tweets will get favorites and re-tweets.
This is the main reason why this research is based on social authority level. It indicates that Twitter engagement is not a problem for the ones who are being followed as trendsetters or world changers.
2. Impact of Images on Tweets, Retweets, and Favorites
Media’s impact on behaviors is undeniable. No matter where it is used, people tend to follow what they see, rather than listen or read. On social platforms, like facebook, the impact of media (even a small image) makes a huge difference on posts. Same is the case on Twitter where a tweet with image drives increased engagement. It leads to some other questions, like:
- Can we calculate how much of an impact does an image oriented tweet have?
- How much does it change with respect to social authority levels?
The following figure shows that a tweet with an image, your chances of getting a retweet, increase by 38% and there are 36% more chances of getting at least one favorite.
The following image will show in-depth details of how you can generate retweets on tweets with images.
- In Low Social Authority Level, the chances of getting a retweet increase from below 10% to more than 20%
- If you place yourself in Moderate Social Authority Level, where chances of getting a retweet on a tweet without an image are just above 20% (on average), you will have 60% (on average) chances of getting a retweet.
- Chances of getting retweets on tweets without image increase in high social authority level as well, projecting a tweet with 70% social authority to nearly 95%. If you’re at this level, you can increase your social authority with the help of tweets with images.
Similarly, your chances of generating favorites on tweets with images will also increase considerably. For example, if your social authority level is 45, your chances of getting at least one favorite on a tweet with those of image-less tweet from a person placed on level 60. Or if you have an authority level of 55 you can easily place yourself in high authority level with the help of image-oriented tweets.
3. Images Generate 5x More Retweets and 4x More Favorites
In lower levels, your chances of generating re-tweets and favorites are more than double. That’s not it. You can work on it to do better than just one Re-tweet or favorite.
The question of how images build upon re-tweets on lower authority levels is answered in the following figure. The y-axis (vertical axis) shows the number of times a re-tweet is more likely to occur on an image-based tweet. With the increase of authority within the same level, the chances of getting a re-tweet diminish.
In the same way, you can see the gain in favorites generated by tweets with images. Y-axis (vertical axis) shows the number of times favorites can occur on an image based tweet. With a slight difference in low authority level, the graph is diminishing right towards the end.
At lower levels, the chances are that a tweet with an image can generate more than 5x retweets (maximum is 9x) at the lowest social authority level.
It must be quite encouraging for you if you’re in the low social authority level. You can generate up to 14x the number of favorites with image-based tweets.
Concluding this part, it is important that your tweets should be aligned with your content; otherwise, you will not be able to reach your estimated target. Relevant images always evoke an initial emotional response. Such an increase is a result of a calculated approach from skilled content marketers who know how to improve results and increase brand recognition with the help of images.
4. Engagement is Largely Based on Retweets and Favorites
As seen in above-mentioned section, engagement is all about getting re-tweets and favorites to the tweets. On Twitter, 36% of the observed tweets receive at least one re-tweet, while 43% of them receive at least one favorite. On the other hand, if you’re thinking about getting replies, you’re talking about 0.7% of all the tweets that actually get them.
It indicates that Twitter has a broadcasting behavior with emphasis on getting re-tweets and favorites. The social platform becomes the place to share news and new information as soon as it comes. Adding images to tweets to gauge their impact on replies may not be suitable for such kind of response. Although it did improve the count, the numbers are as low as negligible. Following figure shows, there are as less than 1% chances for even an image-based tweet to get a reply.
Character Count of The Tweets
Earlier studies have shown that a 100-character tweet is more likely to get a retweet or favorite with up to 17% chances. The analysis of 1.94 million western language tweets shows following results:
- That tweets that are longer, up to 140 characters have increased the likelihood of getting at least one retweet or at least one favorite.
- Tweets below 40 characters have more than 20% chances of getting a retweet, and more than 30% chances of getting at least one favorite.
- Tweets ranging from 101 to 120 characters have over 40% chances of getting a retweet or favorite.
Following figure indicates just that,
Use of Hashtags
Neil Patel shared an infographic at QuickSprout and described their effectiveness in a very sophisticated manner. What he pointed out about hashtags was to use them intelligently, to increase your Twitter engagement.
However, that’s what people have not been following too well. The analysis shows that Hashtags create a moderate difference in the probability of re-tweets or favorites.
Following graph indicates that hashtags increase chances of re-tweets by 17% and that of favorites, by 10%.
That’s effective tactics, but not as effective as images. The following figure shows how the impact of hashtags on RTs and Favorites varies by social authority level.
In general, the statement of moderate increase appears to be true with the exception of starting and ending points on which the impact is negligible.
The Length of Hashtags
According to the tweet analysis, different lengths of hashtags have a very little impact on re-tweets and favorites. The following figure shows the percentage of tweets with hashtags ranging from 1 to 15+ characters. Each of them has received at least one re-tweet or favorite.
The figure indicates that the content and context is more important than the length. Although there is not much of a difference, you should pick the most appropriate keyword (or keywords) in your tweet as a hashtag, and limit the length of characters below 15 in order to have better chances of getting a re-tweet.
Including Links in the Tweets:
Do you think, by including links in your tweets you can get more Retweets and Favorites? If your answer is a simple “Yes!” then you’re partly right. The research on 1.94 million Western Language Tweets indicates that:
- Links in a tweet increases overall chances of getting a retweet by 10%, and
- It will increase the chances of getting a favorite by only 2%.
Take a look at this figure:
In-depth analysis for the chances of retweets indicates that; in lower social authority level, tweets with links have no significance; however, the significance improves in the moderate level and goes down again in high authority zone.
Expectancy of favorite is quite low on tweets with links. In fact, it is negative in low social authority zone.
Suitable Time of Day
On Social Media Examiner, Neil Patel emphasized on tweeting during the daytime. Twittersphere is highly active for 11 – 12 hours with 30% higher engagement. That’s the time to tweet. Lior Degani has suggested Tweroid help you schedule your tweets at times when users are listening.
The data of over 1.9 million tweets reflect that Daytime Does Not Have Considerable Impact on Likelihood of Getting At Least One Retweet.
The figure below shows that the chances of getting at least one retweet remain below 40% throughout the day.
There’s always a possibility that results turn out differently if they are segregated on the basis of particular markets. However, the aggregate result indicates that Twitter engagement is not dependent on daytime.
People always tend to tweet during working hours, according to their own time zones. This is the reason why one cannot identify “the best time of the day” to tweet. This particular analysis is not based on specific time zones. The volume of tweets surely varies with the time of the day.
This figure indicates that Twitter is a broader platform with user-presence 24/7. Therefore, you should not be worried about tweeting on specific hours of the day, until your content is for specific region or country where time zone becomes important.
Tweets with Mentions
Do mentions help in increasing twitter engagement? What kind of impact does it have?
Mentions are the names of the people included in the tweet, just like tags on Facebook. The following figure shows the impact of mentions to get at least one Re-tweet.
Going deeper, the results indicate that Mentions help tweets from 1 – 9 authority get up to 4 re-tweets or replies, whereas, the line remains at or below one re-tweet/reply for higher social authority levels.
Why is that so? Normally, Mentions are targeted to specific people. As a result, they generate fewer responses and limited Twitter engagement.
What marketers should understand is the fact that there is no one secret recipe of creating a viral content. What has worked for someone might be a total failure for you. Social Media, especially Twitter is a diverse platform where knowing your customers and audience is the key to success. Understanding the tools of Twitter is also very important as it is very different from other platforms like Facebook or Google+ etc.
This study looks at the tweets in an aggregated manner, regardless of the subject matter and the context. What really drives people is the content of your tweet. So, make sure select the most appropriate content for your tweet while using hashtags, links or mentions to generate re-tweets and favorites.
However, images play a vital role in increasing Twitter engagement, along with the character length of your tweet. At the same time, make sure that the image you include must match the content.
Twitteroid is a helpful tool to know the best time of the day for your time zone. If you’re a content marketer, you’ll probably need it more for international clients.