Images and Videos Drive Twitter Retweets

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

twitter-tweetsFor many social media marketers, the greatest challenge of using Twitter is finding a way to write a compelling post in less than 140 characters that promotes their brand, engages followers and encourages Retweets. Limited text has been the blessing and the bane of Twitter, but it may not be the key to successful Twitter marketing. A new report from Twitter itself suggests that images and video are driving Retweets on Twitter.

Marketers have tried a wide variety of tactics to increase their engagement on Twitter, including hashtags, quotes, using numbers, images, videos and more. The company had data scientist Douglas Mason analyzed more than two million Tweets sent by verified users in the United States. Besides analyzing their content, the researchers also broke up their results by the topic of the posts (e.g. government, music, news, sports and TV).

“The fact is, people don’t engage equally with every Tweet,” the company said in a blog post about the research. “But now we can confirm that adding video, links and photos all result in an impressive boost in the number of Retweets.”

When all of the topic areas were considered together, the research found that photos average a 35 percent boost in Retweets and links to videos received a 28 percent boost. Keep in mind that the results vary based on the topic. For example, for TV-related posts, video and image URLs boost Retweets by 46-48 percent.

The data also showed that the other elements examined also had an effect. Quotes get a 19 percent boost in Retweets; including a number receives a 17 percent bump in Retweets; and adding hashtags resulted in a 16 percent boost. And depending on the topic, some of these lesser tactics may be the best way to drive Retweets. To illustrate, for TV-related posts, quotes increased Retweets by 56 percent.

Here’s is the interactive chart Twitter published so all the results can be seen:

This information is useful for the multitudes of business owners who are trying to increase their presence on Twitter. According to a recent report from SocialBros, brands spent $220 million in the fourth quarter of 2013 on Twitter advertising, a 121 percent increase from previous year. The report also showed why learning the best way to drive engagement is so important. SocialBros reported that businesses will lose 15 percent of their new Twitter followers within three weeks unless they make an effort to engage early.

Moving forward, this research shows why it’s so important for social media marketers to experiment to find out what works best for their audience. As the results clearly illustrates, different audiences want different things from the content they find on Twitter. With the low character limit, the small flourishes like images, videos, hashtags, etc. become all the more important because these elements are what will ultimately decide if the content is worth engaging with and Retweeting.


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