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Twitter Data: What Happens When You Double Your Tweeting Frequency?

Posted by Steven Shattuck

January 28, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Much has been written about how to maximize follower growth, interaction and click-through rates on Twitter; what days of the week to tweet and what time of day, as well as the structure and content of tweets themselves. However, few studies exists on the optimum volume and frequency of tweets. Assuming that best practices and etiquette are being followed, what impact can suddenly doubling the volume of tweets have on a business/organization account?

The Data

In September 2012, we increased the amount of scheduled tweets from 6 per day (seven days a week) to 12.

Using data gathered from Crowdbooster and Google Analytics, here is a comparison between a four-month period at 6 scheduled tweets per day and a four-month period at 12 scheduled tweets per day (data does not include replies and retweets).

Original Cadence (May-Aug):

  • 7am (Industry article)
  • 9am (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 11am (Industry article)
  • 1pm (Slingshot SEO landing page/offer)
  • 3pm (Industry article)
  • 5pm (Industry article)

Content: 33% Slingshot SEO, 66% industry

Twitter May-Aug via Crowdbooster

New Cadence (Sept-Dec):

  • 7am (Industry article)
  • 8am (Industry article)
  • 9am (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 10am (Industry article)
  • 11am (Slingshot SEO landing page/offer)
  • 12pm (Industry article)
  • 1pm (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 2pm (Industry article)
  • 3pm (Slingshot SEO landing page/offer)
  • 4pm (Industry article)
  • 5pm (Industry article)
  • 6pm (Slingshot SEO blog post)
  • 7pm (Industry article)

Content: 42% Slingshot SEO, 58% industry

Twitter Sept-Dec via Crowdbooster

The Impact

Doubling the frequency of scheduled tweets produced some interesting results, the least surprising of which was that overall impressions more than doubled from about 6 million to 14 million. It should be noted that an increase in overall impressions can be in part attributed to the increased amount of followers enjoyed during the latter half of the study.

Speaking of followers, the Slingshot SEO twitter account only gained a couple hundred more followers during the increased tweeting period. Tweeting twice as often seemed to have only a small effect on follower growth. Could the increased volume of tweets have led to more unfollows, thereby counteracting the potential gains in follower growth?

In terms of interaction, tweeting twice as often produced about 38% more retweets, about 14% less mentions and about 70% more favorites.

Referral traffic was impacted significantly:

Twitter Referral May-Aug vs Sep-Dec via Google Analytics

Tweeting twice as often produced a 124.60% increase in referral traffic, no doubt as a result of the increased volume of tweets containing links to Slingshot SEO blog posts and landing pages.

As a baseline, here is a look at overall website traffic during the two date ranges being compared:

All Traffic May-Aug vs Sep-Dec via Google Analytics

You can see that the increase in referral traffic from Twitter represents a significant percentage (nearly one-third) of the increase in overall traffic to the website from September to December.

Takeaways

For B2C companies focused on conversions to leads, an increased volume of tweets may be appropriate - especially for those who rely on shared thought leadership to build brand equity. But be warned: an increased volume of bad content won't get you anywhere, and may actually prove harmful.

If you do decide to tweet as often as the Slingshot SEO account, be sure to employ the following best practices.

  • Avoid more than one link per hour. Dan Zarrella has reported that as the speed of link tweeting increased, the CTR decreased.
  • Follow the "rule of quarters" - 25% your content, 25% interaction, 50% others' content
  • Share only what your community will find useful
  • Attribute content to their authors (example: "article title" + "link" + "via @author")
  • Don't sleep on nights and weekends
  • Bulk schedule tweets in advance to save time
  • Analyze and adjust

tl;dr

Tweeting twice as often had little effect on follower growth and slightly increased interaction while more than doubling referral traffic. Tweet as often only if you maintain a high standard of content quality and usefulness.

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