Simply Zesty Blog


Research Shows 0.33% Of People Click On Retweet Links

Written by Simply Zesty on

As you know we are obsessed with stats

here and in 2011 we are trying to analyze and share more of them here on the blog. One area that is of particular interest is the Retweet on Twitter and just how powerful it is. We wrote about it before here but we wanted to go in to a little bit more detail and see just how powerful a Retweet is on Twitter and how much reach they have. We looked at all the Retweets this blog had in a 24 hour period and calculated how many people were seeing that in their feed and what sort of traffic that was converting in to. I think you'll find that this is an interesting little survey and it shows that even though people all over the world covet retweets more than anything it appears that as far as links are concerned people are not really clicking on them...

Analyzing The Tweets

We took a 24 hour period and analyzed any tweet relating to the blog. There were 200 tweets in total and they were spread over a large range of blog posts.

Were They Real People?

There were about 15% of tweets that were not from real people. Some were companies, some were automatic retweets that people have set up around specific search terms. The remainder of the tweets appear to be from real people. The graph below shows the range of followers that each person who tweeted a story had. The range was between 0 and 88,500 followers with each twitter having an average of 2203 followers.


You often hear people talk about reach when using Twitter and counting the amount of people who saw a tweet. We combined the total amount of followers that all the users had. Based on that number direct links to our blog posts were seen by the following amount of Twitter users....

Twitter Website Traffic

Measuring traffic that comes from Twitter is not easy through analytics as people don't just access Twitter through but they also use a wide range of applications on phones, computers and tablets. I compiled the following stats from Google Analytics using all the information I had. I've actually massively over estimated the actual amount of traffic to make sure I didn't miss any. This was a time consuming process but I would estimate that at most I am 5 to 10% out on the amount of traffic we received from twitter....

So even though we had nearly a half million people have the links pass through their Twitter streams the amount of people who have actually clicked through to see blog posts is a tiny fraction. When you calculate the amount of people clicking through as a percentage it gives you...

Maybe Our Site Is Rubbish?

Judging from the above it looks as if people are sharing our links but nobody is actually reading the content so it could lead you to the conclusion that the content is not very good. I don't have access to other site's analytics but what I do have is access to photos that people share and the amount of views to followers ratio that they have. I picked Ian Poulter randomly as he had a million followers and is very engaging...

So you can see that he has a million followers and is highly engaging to all his followers. He recently shared a picture on Twitpic...

So even though this is one of the most engaging Twitter users around and he is sharing a photo which is something that people click on a lot on Twitter you can see that by looking at his followers and the amount of clicks the photo gets we are left with...

I ran this test with photos across a wide range of users and the average click through rate was always somewhere between 0.5% and up to 5% where the photo was incredibly exciting or had been shared a lot.


Although your tweets might reach a lot of people or pass through the streams of millions of Twitter users on any given day that doesn't mean that people are going to click on the links. One of the main reasons is that Twitter is in real time so a large percentage of people are simply going to miss the tweets as they won't be on Twitter at the time. Some accounts are fake so nobody clicking there. Some people seem to just like the title of a tweet and might Retweet it just based on that without ever going to the link which is one that baffles me. You only have to look at the photo example to see that at the very best the click through rate on Twitter is a couple of percent.

People are obsessed with getting Retweets for a number of reasons but I think this small bit of research shows that although they have huge "reach" they may have very little value. Of course the metric is not always traffic to a website or a photo (Retweets could lead to increased followers or more influence for example) but I think these examples show that getting a retweet might not always be what it is cracked up to be. Even though somebody with 10,000 followers Retweets you the chances are it will be seen by a couple of hundred people at best.

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