THE BLOG

25
Feb

Understanding Twitter Engagement: The Anatomy of 100,000 Followers

Last year, I launched a social marketing automation app that’s quietly grown to become what I now believe to be the largest third-party “Twitter advertising” platform – I use that term loosely – on the web. To give you a sense of scale, it’s actively generating millions of impressions and hundreds of thousands of engagement events (follows, retweets) across Twitter for users in 41 different countries. Because impressions drive conversions much like a more traditional ad network, this also means it’s spinning off a large amount of data on social engagement and follower interactions. So far I’ve just been letting the data build up, until this past weekend when I decided to dust off my rusty SQL skills and have a look around.

Here are five new things I learned looking at a random data slice of 100,000 Twitter follows.

First, some stats about our overall sample population of followers:

a. The average follower has 3,011 followers of their own on Twitter, although the median follower count is much lower at 388

b. The average follower has a Klout score of 38.9

c. The top 3 most commonly occurring Twitter bio keywords/strings: 1. social (3,857 unique appearances), 2. university (1,940) and 3. media (1,844)

d. The top 3 most common locations (according to their profile): 1. London (2,742 profiles), 2. Boston (2,239) and 3. New York (2,133) (somewhat surprisingly San Francisco came in sixth)

All time for this study is set to Eastern Standard time. Also, with follows being drawn randomly throughout most of the year, our data set shouldn’t need any seasonality adjustments. Nonetheless, if you see any ways to improve this analysis (or any flaws in my methodology, whatever they may be) feel free to shoot me an email.

Lesson #1: Users with Less than 1,000 Followers are Three Times More Likely to Follow You

Trying to get influencers to engage with you on Twitter? The odds aren’t necessarily in your favor, particularly if you’re in the early stages of brand-building for your own account. All other things equal, Twitter accounts with more than 1,000 followers are 62% less likely to follow you than users with <1,000.

Lesson #2: You’re 14% More Likely to Get Followed on a Weekday vs. a Weekend

Twitter Follower Timing

Out of every 100,000 followers distributed throughout a week, this data says the average weekday will see 14,819 follows vs. an average of 12,952 on a weekend day.  That means 14% more follows happen on a typical weekday when people are presumably spending more time on their computers and mobile devices and less time off-line engaging in leisure activities.  Overall, approximately 74% of all follows captured in this data set took place between Monday and Friday. The distribution of follows throughout the week was also fairly consistent: Thursday was the highest days for new follows but still only 5.9% above the weekly average, while Sunday following volume was only 10% below average.

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