Although each link can be considered its own case study depending on the type of content, its appeal and potential audience, among other factors, the brilliant minds at Bit.ly have culled a lot of link-sharing research to form some generalities about link behavior on Twitter, Facebook and other social sharing platforms.
Twitter or Facebook?
Simply put? Links have a longer lifespan on Facebook. Surely that can’t come as a surprise to anyone who really uses each of these social media platforms. So, how’d they arrive at this determination? According to a research summary, the Bit.ly team evaluates the persistence of the link by determining its half life, or “the amount of time at which this link will receive half of the clicks it will ever receive after it’s reached its peak.”
After the Bit.ly team examined the half life of 1,000 popular links, they determined that the mean half life of a link posted on Twitter is 2.8 hours, while on Facebook it’s 3.2 hours.
“So you can expect, on average, an extra 24 minutes of attention if you post on Facebook than if you post on Twitter,” according to Bit.ly.
If you want to boost your link’s half life, you might think about posting it again. We’ve seen it done by various businesses and media outlets on Twitter when an individual will post a link in the morning, for example, and then post it again in the late evening. You don’t want to share the same links over and over, as that will eventually defeat the purpose of the initial link-sharing. Yet if you’re broadcasting what you deem to be an important or newsworthy item, a little extra exposure can go a long way in boosting your link’s visibility in an otherwise crowded, fast-moving stream.
Other Sharing Sources: Email and YouTube Rock
The Bit.ly research also examined two additional sharing platforms – and they might surprise you. Email is an incredibly powerful platform for content and there’s a reason we can’t say often enough how much we love video.
Despite the claims we hear on a regular basis that email is dead, we know the opposite to be true. More people check their email daily than any other channel and for our own content and the client shared by our clients, we know it’s an important, effective channel. Oh, and the stats – they back that up. On average, a link has a half life of 3.4 hours when posted on direct sources like email.
Then there’s YouTube. We recommend and are actively involved in assisting our clients with video content creation and marketing on a weekly basis. And there’s a great reason for that. Online video works. Bit.ly’s research back s that up in spades – YouTube links have average half lives of a whopping 7.4 hours.
Lessons learned? Pay attention to email in your content marketing strategy. And if you can create compelling video content that speaks to your company, brand or message, consider posting on YouTube for a potentially high return on your content investment.
Lesson Learned: Share The Love
Statistics like those presented in Bit.ly’s findings are fascinating, yet the numbers indicate a larger message. When you share content, be sure you’ve built a robust presence on a variety of different platforms and then – and only then – share your links and your broadly. Don’t just rely on Facebook or Twitter to share your message. And when you can, post to YouTube!
Do the findings in the Bit.ly report surprise you? When you create and share content, do you tend to hit multiple platforms? If you have any additional insight to add about your content-sharing strategy, we’d love to hear (and learn from) your experience.