Measuring What Really Works on Twitter: Post Timing and Headlines 53 Comments
“What gets measured gets managed.”
I like data and enhancing performance through following the numbers.
I use half a dozen tools to track metrics on this blog, and I have similarly used tr.im to track click-through on Twitter links, demographic and geographic splits, etc.. I find retweets interesting, but only to the extent that they attract meaningful attention (not just impressions), which can be approximated with clicks on embedded links. In the last two weeks, I’ve found bit.ly to be more reliable and robust than tr.im.
Below I’ve included my top-30 most-clicked Tweets from 12/21/08 to 2/13/09…
I’ll present a number of findings first that I’ve observed across all the data gathered thus far (about 8 months across several tools), recognizing that the sample size for this approximate two-month period isn’t sufficient in and of itself.
First, what are the best times to Tweet for maximum impact?
12 midnight – 4am PST: 6, all between 12 midnight and 2am = 3 per hour
4am – 8am PST: none (at least partially due to the fact that I’m sleeping)
8am – 12 noon PST: 8, all 10am – 12 noon = 4 per hour
12 noon – 4pm PST: 11, 9 between 1:30 – 3pm = 6 per hour
4pm – 8pm PST: 9, evenly spread = 2.25 per hour
8pm – 12 midnight PST: 3 = 0.75 per hour
Conclusion: Based on this limited data set, if you were to post in one 1.5 hour window during the day, the most effective time frame would be 1:30-3pm PST (4:30-6pm ET), which averaged 6 top-30 hits per hour. It’s possible the 4-8am PST period could beat this, but — alas — sleep is more important to me than Twitter.
Second, do the most-clicked headlines/Tweets have common characteristics?
For headlines, here are a few observations:
Top 10 Tweets – 4 questions (4 opening questions)
Top 11-20 Tweets – 2 questions (1 opening question)
Top 21- 30 Tweets – 3 questions (1 opening question)
Conclusion: 70% of the most-clicked Tweets are statements, but 4 of the 4 questions in the top 10 were opening questions. If you include a question, using it to begin the Tweet will increase click-through.
The most common words in top-30 most-clicked Tweets: how to…, best, most, worst, great.
The top-30 most-clicked Tweets in descending order of popularity
1—-Total Clicks—-Date—-Time (PST)—-Actual Tweet
2 4724 1/13/09 11:38 AM The best job in the world – seriously – is taking applications now: http://tr.im/62yw Thanks, MJ! (www.minjungkim.com)
3 4180 1/25/09 10:35 PM Want to remember everything you’ll ever learn? Use this algorithm: http://tr.im/bnsa Thanks, Gary Wolf + readers, for reminding me
4 3838 1/26/09 4:20 PM The most incredible fat-loss photos you will ever see: http://tr.im/cwlw
5 3640 1/21/09 12:49 AM The “worst Twitter post ever”? http://tr.im/b9a1 I doubt it.
6 3627 1/12/09 12:18 AM Markus Frind works <1 hr per day and makes $10 million per year: http://tr.im/4scm Good illustration of keeping it simple.
7 2602 1/20/09 10:21 AM What happens when one of the world’s best violinists plays in a metro station for change? http://tr.im/ave3 using a $3.5-mill violin
8 2514 1/7/09 12:24 AM Some great thoughts on the topic of boredom: http://tr.im/32me Thanks, @gmc!
9 2230 12/22/08 11:18 AM The most impressive 27-year old you’ve never heard of? Barack Obama’s speechwriter: http://tr.im/2k3k
10 2139 2/4/09 8:56 AM How to fold a t-shirt in 2 seconds (video): http://tr.im/ekl4 First saw this method in Tokyo.
11 2080 12/22/08 5:11 PM Newest Wired mag feature now online ‘Flirting with The 4-Hour Workweek’ – freaking hysterical: http://tr.im/2kjs
12 2016 1/20/09 1:43 PM How to learn any language in 3 months: http://tr.im/ayrt
13 1953 1/2/09 4:50 PM Is the Aeron chair worth it? http://tr.im/2uxd Do you have any fave chairs for extended sitting and writing?
14 1864 2/4/09 1:49 PM For those who prefer undressing to folding. How to undress in 2 secs (video): http://tr.im/emf7 Thanks, @1rick!
15 1833 12/31/08 12:30 AM The best infomercial ever: http://tr.im/2rqy This guy is great – “you’re gonna love my nuts” Check out the fine print S&H.
16 1728 1/26/09 10:42 AM Today on Techcrunch – Kevin Rose: 10 Ways to Increase Your Twitter Followers – http://tr.im/cuaj
17 1695 2/5/09 5:15 PM How to open a bottle of wine w/ a phone book: http://tr.im/eul2 Tree or car tire also work quite well.
18 1667 2/2/09 11:28 PM How to do push-ups without your feet touching (video): http://tr.im/eawc
19 1576 1/31/09 5:50 PM My favorite article about redesigning (and explaining) the Internet: http://tr.im/dwze
20 1574 12/30/08 3:29 PM Thinking of setting up online companies in Vermont. Anyone tried this? http://tr.im/2rd0
21 1541 1/19/09 11:26 AM Great chart – The Air Force’s Rules of Engagement for Blogging: http://tr.im/a98z Thx @gmc!
22 1534 1/27/09 5:30 PM The basic movements of Parkour: http://tr.im/d687 Wear ankle support.
23 1413 2/2/09 12:38 AM How to build an upside-down fire. Fun stuff: http://tr.im/e47t
24 1394 1/28/09 12:39 PM RT @devincheevers Great write up on Verdasco v. Tsonga. No time? Just read paragraph 3: http://tr.im/dct7 My fave paragraph in a long time.
25 1360 1/8/09 2:32 PM When insane pen tricks go wrong: http://tr.im/39qq From @jpdefillippo You’ll shoot your eye out!
26 1349 12/29/08 11:52 PM Wow. The real Star Wars hologram projector, from USC: http://tr.im/2qjq Thx, @gmc!
27 1348 12/24/08 2:58 PM Trial by Fire is here! http://tr.im/2mme Takes a min to load, but thx to akman and @rostendorf for pointing it out More X-mas coming
28 1339 2/6/09 1:55 PM Looking for successful case studies and new tools/sites/resources for updated and expanded 4-Hour Workweek: http://tr.im/ezw3
29 1290 2/2/09 11:08 AM RT @mashable How much is your Twitter account worth? http://tr.im/e771 Also, added reader fire-building tips: http://tr.im/e47t
30 1260 1/25/09 2:10 PM Giving away brand-new Fujitsu color travel scanner: http://tr.im/cmhc Do sth #nice for others today and link or describe. Have fun with it!
31 1251 1/1/09 1:43 AM Drunk awareness test. How many passes does the team in white make? http://tr.im/2rrv Happy 2009! It’s going to be the best yet
Can you find any patterns in the data that I missed, or have you found patterns among your own most popular Tweets?
Posted on January 4th, 2009