Study: How Far Do Our Retweets and Replies Go On Twitter?

October 14, 2010
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When you put a tweet out there, you have to wonder, how far does it really go? Sysomos decided to carry out the research on this topic. Sysomos
examined 1.2 billion tweets that were all posted in the last two months.

When you see your tweet retweeted or initiate an @reply, that makes you feel like your tweet was worthwhile. It clearly resonated with someone, right? According to the Sysomos report, 29 percent of all tweets produced some kind of reaction. Of those, 19.3 percent of those were retweets while the rest were @replies. That means that of the 1.2 billion tweets in the study, 72 million (6 percent) were retweets. 

If we dig deeper, we can see trends. Most of the retweets (92.4 percent) happened in the first hour after the original tweet. Following that, 1.63 percent of the retweets happen in the second hour, and 0.94 percent in the third hour. The result? If your tweet is not retweeted in the first hour, it is probably not going to get retweeted. Of course there are exceptions to this rule.

The study also showed that same trend for @replies. In the study, 96.9 percent of @replies occur in the first hour following original tweet. Then 0.88 percent occur in the second hour, and after that, the numbers diminish further. 

The saddest finding is how deep conversations on Twitter actually go. In the study, just 1.53 percent of Twitter conversations consist a tweet, an @reply, and a response back. That's depressing.

What does it all mean? When Ford was tweeting about the new 2011 Explorer, or Chevrolet about the 2011 Volt, were the results this depressing?

In fact, enthusiasts talked about the 2011 Volt on Twitter for more then two days.

The bottom line, according to this report? Joe Schmo out on Twitter is not getting deep meaningful conversations. He is only getting retweeted and @replies in the first hour after his original tweet, and overall only 29% of his tweets are even generating a reaction. One can only assume hope that large product launches such as the 2011 Explorer, and the 2011 Volt, are the exceptions. Otherwise, what are we doing here?


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