4 ways to extend lifespan of a tweet

Our content marketing work involves making every effort to extend the lifespan of tweet content. The logic is that a longer lifespan of a tweet, which is essentially Opportunities to See (OPTS), enhances opportunities for many followers to actually read it, and this will lead to high incidences of desired call-to-action, be it engagement or leads (i.e. click on a published link) or both.

It is estimated that the lifespan of a tweet is as short as 18 minutes. In this post, we look at practical ways to extend a tweet’s lifespan based on insights from a recent 10-day social media voting campaign that we ran on behalf of our Twitter verified client with over 20K followers. While the client shall remain nameless, we can reveal that they ply their trade in the entertainment business.


How to read this post

This post is rich with analysis, findings and insights. However, if you are the “get to the point I don’t have time” type of netizen, scroll straight to the end of the post for a summary of the 4 ways to extend the lifespan of a tweet and read the post bottom up if you choose. But if you are the “I want to know how you got to your findings” type of netizen, we welcome you to read the post from top to bottom. Remember, you do not have to read everything all at once, return visitors are always welcome. Feel free to break the post up, and read a section at your leisure for better consumption of the content (and hopefully application of the learnings as well).

So, here we go…


Client’s Twitter activity performance: 22 December 2014 to 22 February 2015

First things first. Analysis of 2 months of our client’s Twitter account, as measured by IMPRESSIONS, indicates that our 10-day campaign increased their account’s activity.


 Our analytical approach

As can be seen from the client’s 2-month IMPRESSIONS graph above, our 10-day campaign was made up of a combination of organic and promoted tweets. More specifically, we applied 3 Twitter content publishing tactics: 1) organic tweets that we generated for voting campaign; 2) voting campaign relevant user-generated tweets (UGC) that we curated and repurposed  and reposted; and 3) promoted tweets. The 4th area of analysis of unrelated Twitter activity was associated with coincidental publicising of a live entertainment event by the client on the second last day of our voting campaign.

We share results of our comparative analysis here below, using HOURLY IMPRESSIONS as the only social metric for this blog post.


1) Organic tweets:

We published organic tweets for the voting campaign mainly in the evenings, as guided by the time(s) when our client’s 20K followers are most active on Twitter.

Analysis of HOURLY IMPRESSIONS of 6 organic tweets that we created and posted in the first 6 days of the voting campaign is represented in a slideshow below:

Labeled bars represent the highest impressions within the first 24 hours of each of the published voting campaign tweets.

Our finding is that lifespan of organic tweets is generally limited to the first hour of published content, as indicated by most of the 6 tweets having biggest spike of IMPRESSIONS in first hour, followed by sharp drop in subsequent hours. Although not conclusive, there seems to be a chance that tweets posted up to 2 hours before followers’ busiest hour will have a longer lifespan. 


2) User-generated tweets (UGC)

Here is a slideshow of HOURLY IMPRESSIONS of 7 relevant user-generated tweets that were curated and repurposed for the voting campaign.

Labeled bars represent the highest impressions within the first 24 hours of each of the repurposed tweets.

Our finding is that lifespan of UGC-leveraged tweets is longer than 1 hour, as indicated by the number of hours it took for most tweets before the sharp drop.


3) Promoted tweets

The graph below shows a total number of HOURLY IMPRESSIONS for all promoted tweets in the last 4 days of the 10-day social media voting campaign.

The promoted tweet IMPRESSIONS graph above clearly indicates that promotion of tweets does extend their lifespan.


4)  Client’s entertainment event driven organic social media campaign tweets

We live-recorded IMPRESSIONS of an unrelated tweet that our client independently posted about and during their live entertainment event that happened between 9 and 10 pm (1 hour) on the 21st of February. The live event was broadcast on one of South Africa’s top youth radio stations. The objective of our live recording was to count the number of IMPRESSIONS during the live event hour, and observe the points at which growth accelerates and slows down. See the Gif of the IMPRESSIONS live recording below:

Notes and observations about the Gif:

  •  [highlight]The post[/highlight]for which a tweet activity recording above was done was published at 9:05 pm, and it was inviting followers to then listen to the live event on radio.
  • [highlight]There was[/highlight]a total of 401 impressions for the tweet in question during the 1 hour slot.
  • [highlight]Of the[/highlight] related IMPRESSIONS, 162 were recorded by 9:15pm, 299 by 9:30 pm (3/4), and 384 by 9:45 pm. The remaining 17 IMPRESSIONS were recorded in the last quarter of the hour.

Our finding was that IMPRESSION peaks were at 9:15 and 9:45 pm; and the last 15 minutes of the live event saw a slump in number of impressions.


 Summary findings

There are four ways to extend lifespan of a tweet:

  1. Posting close to time when your followers are busiest on Twitter
  2. Leveraging UGC
  3. Promoting selected tweets
  4. Leveraging an event that is of interest to followers


How do you extend lifespan of your tweets? Tell us in the Comment section below.


Source: Twitter Analytics.


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