Benjamin Rey
Co-founder & Chief Scientist at Wisemetrics : with a background in mathematics & statistics, Benjamin has been crunching data and developing statistical algorithms for 15 years, mostly for e-marketing optimization (Principal Research engineer at Yahoo! labs, and now Wisemetrics)

It is mainstream that to share a news on Twitter one should repeat it a few times, for the simple reason that your followers aren’t up online on twitter all day and that they are likely to miss your great news.

At Wiselytics we like to look at statistics from lots of data points, and since we have our hands on around 1B tweets, we thought we could get some concrete numbers about if one should repeat tweets.

How many times may a tweet be repeated and performing well

Some went into doing a fact checking analysis of their past tweets which they did repeat as featured in marketingland or Guy Kawasaki’s blog. Tomasz Tunguz, venture capitalist at redpoint even did a thorough statistical analysis of his full history of tweets and all concluded that indeed it is very valuable to repeat his tweets.

Our Data perspective

By repeat we don’t mean “copy-paste” of the same tweet. It’s against Twitter policy. Repeating a tweet needs a bit of human editing, would it be for a different wording, or emphasizing a different part of your news. Thus we had to start by devising an algorithm which could identify for 2 tweets if they talk about the same news een if they are not identical copies. It performs very well, with 90% precision thus giving us the ability to scan through tweets and automatically identify those which are repeats.

Then we sample 1.5K accounts, looked at 3 months of their tweets and ended up analyzing 1M tweets. We identified all the tweets with repetition, and for each repetition, we normalized its performance with the performance of the initial tweet. Performance being RT + Favorites.

Findings

A first interesting statistics is that 55% of the twitter accounts are repeating their tweets. And among the 1M tweets, 3% are repeated.

55% of twitter users repeat their tweets tweet

 Now here are the main findings: On average, the second tweet about a news get 86% as much performance as the first one. And in the following graph, you can see the performance decreasing slowly as number of repeats increase (see at the end of blog post for the blue confidence interval explanation)

twitter repetition performance

Repeating a tweet gets you 86% as much performance as the initial tweet tweet

The more one repeat the less the performance he gets, but even after 6 repetitions, we’re still at 67% of the first tweet.

Read from another perspective, we can estimate that on average, when you repeat a tweet, only 14% of your audience is seeing your tweet for the second time.

Don’t be afraid of repeating your tweets, on average only 14% of your followers will see it twice tweet

Comparison with Facebook

A while back, we ran a similar analysis for Facebook posts and had found that one can safely repeat important news on Facebook, but to a lesser extent that on Twitter. This is confirmed on the graph below:

twitter vs facebook repetition of a publication

The performance of a repetition on Facebook decreases much faster than on Twitter: 38% loss at the 1st repetition on Facebook vs 14% on Twitter.

Note on confidence intervals

“Performance of a tweet repetition” is showing the average performance with a confidence interval of only 10%. We do have a strong case about the decrease in performance repetition after repetition, however it depends much on the user’s twitting behavior. Basically if a tweet is terribly timed for its first iteration, its repetitions can perform way better than  this first tweet (or the opposite)

Our analysis was run over enough tweets and users to cancel out for the impact of timing, however, as we can see on the graph below (performance of the 5th tweet across all tweet-news) there is indeed quite a bit of variance.

Distribution of performance of the 5th repetition in Twitter

The median performance for the 5th repetition is 76% but it does happen frequently that it performs better (>100%) and even sometime 2 to 3 times better than the first time the news was tweeted.

Repeating a tweet can really save your news if you had poorly timed it the first time tweet

 

 

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11 Comments

  1. Tracy Wong -

    Very interesting findings! I’ve always wondered if it’s really that useful to repeat an announcement in my tweets, and you’ve answered my question. The timeline in Twitter and Facebook are sorted differently, so it makes sense that tweets do better when related than fb posts. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Petra -

    I am slightly confused by your article above, particularly the comparison of Twitter and Facebook.
    I would think that the graph indicates that repetition is more acceptable in Twitter than Facebook. The effectiveness of repeated posts in Facebook appears to be lower than on Twitter.

  3. Should you repeat your tweets? Facts and figure… -

    […] It is mainstream that to share a news on Twitter one should repeat it a few times, for the simple reason that your followers aren't up online on twitter all day and that they are likely to miss your great news.At Wisemetrics we like to look a statistics from lots of data points, and since we have our hand on around 1B tweets, we thought we could get some concrete numbers about if one should repeat tweets.  […]

  4. Amanda -

    Very Interesting study. There’s a lot of opinions out there about what you should and shouldn’t do on various Social Media sites but of course it’s the real statistics that tell the story and statistics don’t always show what you initially expect. Great analysis. I’ve subscribed for future updates.

  5. Szymon Slowik -

    Nice insights. I somehow felt that I should tweet my blog posts more than once or twice. I didn’t analyse it so directly but just followed some practices by influencers ilke Jeff Bullas (who apparently knows how to get followers and reach on Twitter) 😀

  6. Benjamin Rey -

    @Tracy, thanks for the nice comment, glad you found it useful

  7. Benjamin Rey -

    @Petra, it’s just as you said: repeating posts in Facebook is lower than on Twitter and more acceptable on Twitter.

  8. Benjamin Rey -

    @Amanda Thanks Amanda for the nice comments – hope you will like future updates!

  9. Benjamin Rey -

    @Szymon thanks for the nice comments

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    […] Should you repeat your tweets? Facts and figures from 1M tweets – Wiselytics. It is mainstream that to share a news on Twitter one should repeat it a few times, for the simple reason that your followers arent up online on twitter all day and that they are likely to miss your great news. At Wiselytics we like to look at statistics from lots of data points, and since we have our hands on around 1B tweets, we thought we could get some concrete numbers about if one should repeat tweets. […]