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Posted by randfish

As marketers, many of us leverage Twitter as a direct traffic tool – sharing URLs via the service to encourage clicks and visits to help increase awareness, branding and possibly drive some direct actions (singups, sales, subscriptions, etc). But, from what I’ve seen and experienced, not many of us spend time thinking about how or taking action to improve the CTR we get from the links we tweet.

Twitter Stats for Randfish
Given that I have 21K+ followers, but most of the links I tweet generate 150-250 clicks, my CTR is only averaging 1.34%

As analytics junkies, we’re well aware that we can only improve things that we measure, analyze and test. So let’s look at a process for measuring our tweets, analyzing the data and testing our hypotheses about bettering our click-through-rates. If we do it right, we could increase the value Twitter brings us as a marketing and traffic channel.

First off, we’re going to need some data sets that include each of the following:

  • Profile Data
    • # of followers
    • # of following
    • # of tweets
    • # of tweets on avg per day
  • Tweet Data (only on tweets containing a unique, trackable URL – e.g. bit.ly/j.mp)
    • # of clicks
    • # of retweets
    • time of day
    • tweet structure (e.g. text, url, text VS url, text VS text, url VS text, url, hashes)

This can be time consuming to grab, but if you know how to use TwitterBit.ly’s APIs, you could make a more automated system to monitor this. Once you’ve assembled these, you’ll want to build a spreadsheet something like this:

Twitter Chart of CTR Data

I’ve made the version I created for my own stats public here on Google Docs to help provide an example. With the help of my Twitter history page and the bit.ly+ system (which allows anyone to see the click stats on any unprotected bit.ly link) I constructed a chart of my last 25 tweets containing URLs where I had personally created the bit.ly link (retweets and tweets where I used links from others would be noisy and unusable for this particular purpose).

Using this data, I can ask some interesting questions and learn the answer, including:

Do My Wordier Tweets Earn Higher CTR?

To answer, we merely need to look at the number of words per tweet compared against CTR. We can then build a graph to visually illustrate the data.

# of Words vs. CTR

The trendlines (in dashes) are showing me that there’s a slight pattern, and Excel’s correlation function returns a value of -0.262, suggesting that there’s a very subtle correlation between shorter tweets and more clicks. I might try testing this in the future with particularly short tweets, since my average word length is 15.88 with a standard deviation of only 3.88 (meaning most of my tweets are consistently lengthy).

Do My Shorter Tweets Perform Better?

Let’s try asking a similar question as above, but look at the raw length of the tweet. According to Hubspot’s data (as presented by Dan Zarrella), shorter tweets are more likely to be retweeted, so perhaps a simliar relationship exists for CTR.

Number of Characters vs. CTR

The results are similar, but a little stronger here. The correlation is -0.335, again suggesting shorter tweets might be getting higher CTRs. My average tweet is 108.92 characters in length (standard deviation of 16.94). Given this datapoint and the above, I’m certainly tempted to try a bit more brevity in my tweets.

Do On/Off Topic Tweets Affect My CTR?

In order to find out whether the topic focus of my tweets has an impact on the click-through-rate, I had to create a numerical value mapped to the degree of "on-topicness," then assign that to each URL. Since I’m in the SEO field, my profile says I’m going to be tweeting about SEO, startups and technology and the majority of my tweets are on these subjects, I decided on a scale like this:

  • 0 – On a completely unrelated topic
  • 1 – On a topic subtly related to marketing/technology/startups/SEO
  • 2 – About tech, marketing or startup subjects, or pseudo-on-topic for SEO
  • 3 – Specifically about SEO

I then made the following chart representing this data next to CTR:

Twitter CTR vs. Topic Focus of Tweet

The correlation function suggests this is a bit higher: 0.43, suggesting that when I tweet about the topics people expect to hear from me about, a higher percentage of them click those links. That’s not unexpected – in fact, I would have predicted a higher correlation (and who knows, across a larger dataset, it might have been stronger).

Is My CTR Improving Over Time?

This is a pretty simple one to answer.

Twitter CTR Over Time

Sadly, that answer is no. I hit my peak in early October with a few choice tweets and haven’t had much in the high ranges since that time. This is a good lesson in why it’s important for me to be monitoring, testing and working to improve, as I’m clearly not doing that through meer experience.

On a broader scale, we also recently conducted some research analyzing 20+ different Twitter accounts and hundreds of tweeted URLs from them. You can see the raw dataset here looking at ~250 tweeted URLs with CTR data, and several metrics about each of the accounts tweeting them. Our hope was to see whether any of the metrics could help predict a higher vs. lower CTR.

The following chart illustrates our findings:

Comparison of Metrics to Predict Twitter Click-Through-Rates

Basically, no single metric about an individual’s Twitter accout was particularly predictive of higher CTR with the exception of TwitterGrader Rank. However, in this case, a higher numeric rank (meaning a "worse" rank) had a higher corrrelation, suggesting the relationship is awkwardly inverse. We were also bummed to see that Klout scores, which we’d hoped would be predictive of CTR, were barely correlated.

One interesting thing we found – average CTR across all 250+ tweets to be only 1.17% (0.024 standard deviation). Thus, I shouldn’t feel too bad about my 1.34% average CTR.

The research, unfortunately, didn’t lead us to any great conclusions, but we are planning to revisit the problem again in the future with larger datasets and more variables. For now, you can download th
e full report here
. Feel free to share, but please do attribute to SEOmoz if/when you do. 

While these types of analysis can be interesting, it’s not a scalable or practical solution for most marketers. What we need is a tool that can automatically analyze our Twitter accounts, collect more and better metrics, and run over them in an automated fashion. That tool doesn’t exist today, but someone should really build a "Twitter Optimizer." If you’ve got the skills and are feeling up to it, but need financial remuneration, SEOmoz would be happy to contract to have that built – just drop me a line (rand at seomoz dot org).

p.s. Special thanks to Ray Illian for compiling the research and the report above.

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog
This Web Faceoff series is supported by Buick.

It’s time once again for a new edition of our Web Faceoff Series, wherein we pit two services, devices or trends against each other for a knock-down, drag-out fight for the affection of Mashable readers.

Last week we saw Google TV defeat Apple TV in the web television arena, and this week we turn our attention to a question whose answer appears to be shifting: Where do you get your news?

Considering the growing role of social networks in how we consume information, it’s a good time to pit the following two sources against each other: Where do you get more of your news from these days, Twitter or newspapers?

Cast your vote in the poll below until Sunday, June 6 at 3 p.m. PST to make your voice heard. And be sure leave a comment below about the reasoning behind your vote. Happy voting!

Faceoff Series: Overall Results

Week 1:
Mozilla Firefox vs. Google Chrome
WINNER: Firefox, 4600 votes (Chrome: 3310 votes, Tie: 911 votes)

Week 2:
Tumblr vs. Posterous
WINNER: Tumblr, 1809 votes (Posterous: 1496 votes, Tie: 256 votes)

Week 3:
Pandora vs. Last.fm
WINNER: Last.fm, 1187 votes (Pandora: 1156 votes, Tie: 122 votes)

Week 4:
Twitter vs. Facebook
WINNER: Facebook, 2484 votes (Twitter: 2061 votes, Tie: 588 votes)

Week 5:
WordPress vs. Typepad
WINNER: WordPress, 2714 votes (Typepad: 267 votes, Tie: 357 votes)

Week 6:
Windows 7 vs. Snow Leopard
WINNER: Windows 7, 3632 votes (Snow Leopard: 3278 votes, Tie: 121 votes)

Week 7:
TweetDeck vs. Seesmic Desktop
WINNER: TweetDeck, 3294 votes (Seesmic Desktop: 1055 votes, Tie: 260 votes)

Week 8:
Microsoft Office vs. Google Docs
WINNER: Microsoft Office, 1365 votes (Google Docs: 994 votes, Tie: 315 votes)

Week 9:
Apple iPhone vs. Google Android
WINNER: Google Android, 3323 votes (Apple iPhone: 1494 votes, Tie: 228 votes)

Week 10:
AT&T vs. Verizon
WINNER: Verizon, 1161 votes (AT&T: 538 votes, Tie: 118 votes)

Week 11:
Google vs. Bing
WINNER: Google, 2180 votes (Bing: 519 votes, Tie: 97 votes)

Week 12:
iPod Touch/iPhone vs. Nintendo DS vs. Sony PSP
WINNER: iPod Touch/iPhone, 704 votes (Sony PSP: 639 votes, Nintendo DS: 482 votes, Tie: 108 votes)

Week 13:
Digg vs. Reddit vs. StumbleUpon
WINNER: Digg, 14,762 votes (Reddit: 11,466 votes, StumbleUpon: 2507 votes, Tie: 1032 votes)

Week 14:
Old versus new Twitter retweets
WINNER: Old style retweets, 1625 votes (New style retweets: 699 votes, Tie: 227 votes)

Week 15:
Gmail vs. Outlook
WINNER: Gmail, 3684 votes (Outlook: 980 votes, Tie: 590 votes)

Week 16:
Boxee vs. Hulu
WINNER: Hulu, 626 votes (Boxee: 591 votes, Tie: 106 votes)

Week 17:
Nexus One vs. iPhone 3GS
WINNER: Nexus One, 6743 votes (iPhone 3GS: 2818 votes, Tie: 592 votes)

Week 18:
Foursquare vs. Yelp vs. Gowalla
WINNER: Foursquare, 1182 votes, (Yelp: 661 votes, Gowalla: 509 votes, Tie: 143 votes)

Week 19:
AIM vs. GTalk vs. FbChat
WINNER: GTalk, 2189 votes, (AIM: 1257 votes, FbChat: 511 votes, Tie: 203 votes)

Week 20:
Music Ownership vs. Music Subscription
WINNER: Ownership, 533 votes (Subscription: 299 votes, Tie: 237)

Week 21:
Match.com vs. PlentyofFish
WINNER: Plenty of Fish, 430 votes (Match.com: 334 votes, Tie: 187 votes)

Week 21:
Google Buzz vs. Facebook Vs. Twitter
WINNER: Facebook, 3353 votes (Twitter: 1828 votes, Google Buzz: 1298 votes, Tie: 651 votes)

Week 22:
HTML5 vs. Adobe Flash
WINNER: HTML5, 3892 votes (Adobe Flash: 1779 votes, Tie: 660 votes)

Week 23:
Project Natal vs. PlayStation Move
WINNER: Project Natal, 1268 votes (PlayStation Move: 668 votes, None: I don’t like motion controllers: 170 votes, None: I prefer the Wii: 150 votes)

Week 24:
Chatroulette vs. Hot or Not
WINNER: Chatroulette, 742 votes (Hot or Not: 281 votes, Tie: 99 votes)

Week 25:
iPad vs. Netbooks
WINNER: iPad, 3098 votes (Netbook: 1969 votes, Tie: 605 votes)

Week 26:
Amazon Kindle vs. Apple iBooks
WINNER: Apple iBooks, 1227 votes (Amazon Kindle: 928 votes, Tie: 118 votes, Neither: 276 votes)

Week 27:
Next-gen iPhone vs. Droid Incredible
WINNER: iPhone 4G, 9765 votes (Droid Incredible: 8175 votes, Tie: 1318 votes)

Week 28:
Facebook “Like” vs. “Become a Fan”
WINNER: “Become a Fan”, 3161 votes (“Like:” 1634 votes, Indifferent: 719 votes)

Week 29:
Physical keyboards vs. Virtual keyboards
WINNER: Physical QWERTY keyboard, 2563 votes (Virtual keyboard: 2010 votes, Prefer T9 typing: 176 votes, Tie: 346 votes)

Week 30:
Google TV vs. Apple TV
WINNER: Google TV, 1674 votes (Apple TV: 617 votes, Neither: 341 votes, Both: 242 votes)

Series supported by Buick

This Web Faceoff series is supported by Buick.

[newspaper img credit: DRB62]

For more social media coverage, follow Mashable Social Media on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Reviews: Bing, Boxee, Chrome, Digg, Facebook, Firefox, Foursquare, Gmail, Google, Google Buzz, Google Docs, Gowalla, Gtalk, Hulu, Mashable, Pandora, Posterous, Seesmic Desktop, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, TweetDeck, Twitter, TypePad, Windows, WordPress, Yelp, aim

Tags: News, newspapers, polls, social media, twitter, web faceoff


Posted by caseyhen

Earlier this year, jtkaczuk wrote a YOUmoz post about “Using Twitter as a Sitemap”.  After reading it I began to think about the power of Twitter and if using Twitter more can help indexation.  Many Twitter users will tweet about new post or products on their account hoping to draw attention and links from their followers.  What if this process can also help with getting more pages indexed and indexed faster?  I was surprised with the results of this quick little experiment that I threw together in a few months.

Experiment Setup

The experiment started with 15 local clients of mine who often tweet about new products or posts on their Twitter accounts. These accounts vary in followers from 75 to about 1500. While I did not have direct control over these accounts, I was able to track when a new product was added, tweeted, crawled by GoogleBot, and indexed by Google via a PHP script I wrote and installed on their CMS. Along with tracking those, I monitored when the number of RTs, when the product was indexed, and if it stayed indexed for at least 48 hours after it was launched.
For each product or post that was launched, they were placed in one of three categories for 48 hours:
  • Twitter Links Only – 48 hours with no internal links and 1 tweet only from the orginal account
  • Site Architecture Links Only – No tweets about product or post, only internal links and sitemaps generated
  • Both Twitter & Site Architecture Links – Both tweets, internal links, and sitemaps to post or product
After the 48 hour observation period was over, the products or posts were launched like a normal, which included tweets, internal links, and anything else my clients might do to promote it.  We also stopped collecting data at that point.

Experiment Warning

As Rand and Ben always say, correlation does not imply causation. Nor do I encourage that you SPAM Twitter with a whole bunch of links to content that is not useful to your followers. Take the results of this experiment and try to find where you can fit them in your business without upsetting and losing your followers.

Experiment Data Summary

During the course of the experiment: 120 products or posts where published – 40 in each of the categories above, there over 96 RTs, over 350 GoogleBot visits, and an 87% indexation rate. Here are some quick highlights of the findings:
  • Twitter Only Launch
    • GoogleBot averaged its first visit within 78 seconds of the first tweet.
    • Tweets with more than 3 RTs were indexed 325% faster, along with 125% more of its products and post indexed than tweets with no RTs.
    • Average indexation of the post or product was different depending on number of RTs
      • 3 or more RTs had an average indexation time of 8 hours, with 86% indexed.
      • 1 or no RTs had an average indexation time of 26 hours, with 69% indexed.
  • Internal Links Only Launch
    • GoogleBot averaged its first visit within 2.5 hours of the first internal link on the site.
    • Average indexation of the post or product was 8.5 hours, with 85% indexed.
  • Both Internal Links and Twitter Launch
    • GoogleBot averaged its first visit within 82 seconds of being launched.
    • Average indexation of the post or product was again different depending of the number of RTs the Twitter updated received.
      • 3 or more RTs had an average indexation time of 4.25 hours, with 88% indexed.
      • 1 or no RTs had an average indexation time of 5 hours, with 79% indexed.

Experiment Raw Data

Twitter Only
Internal Links Only
Both Internal Links and Twitter

Experiment Conclusion

The data concludes that creating your new product or post with internal links along with a tweet that gets 3 or more RTs, will help in increasing the time and rate at which they get indexed. While the data may show there is evidence that this technique will help your site increase its indexation and crawl time, I would advise you to do it with caution and care. All of my clients took care not to launch more than 1 product a day and did continue to tweet other things besides the new products launched.   My personal warning is to remember that Twitter is designed for your clients and not as a launching pad for Google, it would be horrible to see your account lose its following due to mass product tweeting.  What are your feelings or experiences on using Twitter to increase your indexation?

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SEOmoz Daily SEO Blog
The Pew Internet & American Life Project has released some statistics about Twitter and other similar services that Americans use to post updates about themselves. The bottom line? About one in five Americans uses such a service.

who Tweets

Click here for a larger image.

Another interesting phenomenon is that we’re seeing more young people using Twitter now. There have been anecdotal reports that young people were shying away from Twitter, but we can see the hard numbers here:

The median age for Twitter is now 31, while MySpace is down 26 from its previous 27 in May of 2008; and Facebook has risen significantly from 27 in May 2008 to 33 now.

There’s a lot to digest in the study, but these are a few highlights that stood out. Anything interesting catch your eye? Please consider leaving a comment below.

Chart courtesy of MarketingCharts.

The Social Media Marketing Blog

The portion of the interview below titled “Comcast CEO: Twitter Changed the Culture of Our Company” is a brief overview by Brian Roberts about Twitter.

Is it really making a difference for them? I would say, “Yes”.

(via Fora)

* * *

Learn more about Social Media.

Soshable | Social Media Blog
Google Twitter adsIn October 2009, Google announced a million deal with Twitter to include tweets in its search results. Now Google is looking to make good on its investment with a new kind of display ad that lets advertisers attract more followers to their Twitter accounts.

Ads appear in a box with the Twitter bird icon in the lower left-hand corner and the advertisers’ latest tweet in the center. To the lower right is a button prompting viewers to follow the advertiser on Twitter, which they can do without having to leave Google. Clicking on any other part of the ad directs the user to the advertiser’s Twitter page, however.

Google has begun testing the new ad format with a select number of advertisers, including Norway-based firm Qualité Search Marketing, who was invited to the beta test in early May. The firm reports only “a modest boost” to its follower count since testing on the platform began.

“To provide more marketing opportunities for our advertisers to reach users in moments that are relevant and useful to them, we are currently testing different ways that allow advertisers to better update their ads in real time,” a Google spokesperson wrote to ClickZ. “We are currently in a limited test with a small number of advertisers and publishers.”

Given that Microsoft’s Bing announced a similar deal with Twitter even before Google did, we suspect the search engine will shortly announce a Twitter-related advertising platform as well.

What do you think of Google’s forthcoming ad product? How else could the company leverage its deal with Twitter to create value for advertisers? Share your ideas in the comments.

[img credit: Qualité Search Marketing]

For more business coverage, follow Mashable Business on Twitter or become a fan on Facebook

Reviews: Facebook, Google, Twitter

Tags: display advertising, Google, twitter

Twitter Chart ImageKorean boy band Super Junior takes the top spot on this week’s list, demonstrating once again that Twitter is truly an international affair.

And in classic Twitter form, international diplomatic crises rank right up there with pro sports upsets as the most talked about topics on the network. And if you’re concerned about Justin Bieber (as we all certainly are), rest assured, he jumps back into the trend party at number seven.

As always, our pals at What The Trend have provided the insightful list below. Because this is a topical list, hashtag memes and games have been omitted from the chart.

You can check past Twitter trends in our Top Twitter Topics section as well as read more about this past week’s trends on What The Trend.

Top Twitter Trends This Week: 5/29 – 6/4

Top Index This Week
Previous Peak Index
Super Junior
BONAMANA is new single from a Korean boy band Super Junior. This song was released on May 10th and the music video was released quickly thereafter. Their fans, or E.L.F.s (everlasting friends) are celebrating their comeback.
Israeli Flotilla Raid
Israel stormed a flotilla of aid ships bound for Gaza. Multiple peace activists were killed and international condemnation has followed.
Jim Joyce was the 1st-base umpire during pitcher Armando Galarraga’s near perfect game. He blew the call for the game’s 27th out by calling the runner safe at first when replays show he was clearly out. Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig opted not to reverse the call and Galarraga will not get credit for his perfect game.
Gulf Oil Spill
BP was unable to complete the "Top Kill" maneuver to stop the flow of oil into the Gulf. They have now switched to slicing off the top of the riser pipe and placing a containment cap over the top.
Gary Coleman
Actor Gary Coleman, famous for his catchphrase line "Whatchoo talkin’ bout Willis!?" passed away at age 42, after being hospitalized following a brain hemorrhage.
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual music competition in Europe (29th May in Oslo, Norway). Germany ran off with the first place prize.
Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber released his newest music video, "Never Say Never" featuring Jaden Smith, son of rapper/actor Will Smith. Jaden stars in the new "Karate Kid" movie.
A variety of teams played and people prepared for the FIFA World Cup which begins in a few days.
Lady Gaga
Lady RodriGaga is the Brazilian TV host (Rodrigo Faro) who dressed like @ladygaga for his show. Gaga’s fans (A.K.A. Little Monsters) are excited for the release of Lady Gaga’s "Alejandro" music video on Monday, June 7th, 2010.
Sex & the City 2 (Movie)
Excitement and terror over the second Sex and the City movie. Reviews have been very mixed.

Image courtesy of iStockphoto, ricardoinfante

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Reviews: Facebook, SEX, Twitter, iStockphoto, movie

Tags: armando galarraga, gulf of mexico, gulf oil spill, Super Junior, Top Twitter Topics, trends, twitter, twitter trends