What We Learned By Looking at 90 Days Worth of Tweets


We’re now a couple of weeks into Q2 and some of us on the marketing team at AddThis are checking in to see what’s working and what’s not when it comes to our social media strategy.

Because we’re seeing great engagement on Twitter, we decided to take a closer look at our tweets to see if we could find trends in what was getting the most attention. Here are the 3 lessons we learned (or had reinforced) from looking at our past 90 days worth of tweets.

1. Trendjacking Works

Over the course of 90 days, we tweeted 755 times, and of those 755 tweets, 382 were responses to mentions, customer service-related, etc. The other 373 tweets were promoting our blog posts, product announcements, events, media coverage, office happenings, industry news, and more.

When organized by engagements (which Twitter Analytics defines as the “total number of times a user interacted with or clicked anywhere on the tweet”), close to 50% of the top 20 tweets had to do with current events or trends.

Because I looked at the past 90 days, these events and trends included things such as the Oscars, House of Cards Season 3 early release on Netflix (which was only up for a few minutes but caused a 423% spike in online buzz), Valentines Day, and the Super Bowl. For almost all of these events we released an infographic or a post with interesting data insights.

So, what’s the takeaway? Trendjacking works. Find ways your marketing or advertising efforts can tap into these highly engaged fan bases or trend followings. It’s a good way to remain relevant and to reach a broader audience than you might usually. However, there’s a fine line. If there’s not an entirely relevant or appropriate angle for your business to take, don’t force it.

2. You’ve Got 140 Characters, But You Only Need 65

It’s no mystery that brevity has become the soul of higher engagement. But just how concise should you be with your tweets? Opinions differ. Some say the perfect tweet is around 100 characters while others report the sweet spot is between 71-100.

We keep our tweets short. The average character count of our top 20 tweets (again, based on engagements) from over the past 90 days, hashtags and links excluded, was 65. The average character count of our bottom 20 (not counting replies) was 80. What’s a 15 character count difference mean in engagement rate? For this batch of tweets, the top 20 saw a difference of 1.35% in engagement rate compared to the lowest performing 20.

(We’re keeping in mind that lower engagement is not fully dependent on character count, but a lot of variables, such as topic, included media, time of day you’re posting, etc. But that’s a post for another time!)

One way we’re being held to shorter tweets is by including a photo, link, and at least one hashtag with almost all tweets. When you add up those different elements, you’re not left with much choice other than to choose your words wisely.

3. Embedded Media Isn’t Just for Show

Earlier this year we compared one month’s worth of tweets where we used only five images to another month’s where we used over 80, and found that our engagement rate more than doubled. And now after taking a closer look at our analytics, we’re seeing that people aren’t just passively consuming these images, they’re paying attention and clicking them.

With mobile in mind and thinking about users being less inclined to click out of an app, it’s even more important to do as much storytelling as you can with your image and copy. In fact, the tweet of ours that got the most embedded media clicks, which also had one of the highest engagement rates for those 90 days, had 390% more media clicks than it did URL clicks.

These are some of the trends we’ve been seeing with our own tweets, but we’d love to hear from you about what you’ve been seeing!

  • King Of(f) AtroPix

    Already got lotta own media out there, and very excited how this free cooperation continues… ; )

  • Gary Bridger

    I wonder if the government and David Cameron ever read them. They should and take note!

  • pandayspanday

    Yes, brevity and the force of words to hit the topic, shall succeed.

  • We love the post and twitter tips. When will your widget be updated to the latest wordpresss?

  • Hi Robert, glad to hear you liked the post! Our most recent plugin version (4.0.7) works with the current version of WordPress (4.1.1).

  • Malenge

    informative stuff, we can always learn more

  • Agreed. We hope to share more insights like these in the future!

  • I love the trend jacking. And what I have noticed as a Facebook user facebook Ads helps tell what is working and one can tailor their social media strategy around that.
    This is really insightful, thank you.

  • Hi Shanah, that’s awesome to hear you connected with the trendjacking tip. And yes, Facebook and its ad manager does allow for some insightful reporting and can help you with tweaking your strategy.

  • One thing I’ve found helpful is to remove hashtags from my tweets. Only if it is about something actually trending (aka Superbowl, Father’s Day) is the hashtag actually relevant. Most of the time when I see hashtags, it just seems like clutter to me.

    So, now I only use hashtags when I’m joining a current conversation. Cool article, thank you for the insights!

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