I’ve written about this before, but I feel like it needs to be discussed again. A lot of people retweet links without ever clicking on the link, much less reading the content on the page being linked to. I’ll admit, I’m guilty of it myself, but I’ve been trying to stop this practice.
But this seems to be a symptom of a much larger problem on Twitter. And that is:
Click-Through Rates On Twitter Are Very Low
My own Twitter habits aside, I’ve also seen it on my own website and Twitter statistics. I’ll tweet a link to a blog post, it’ll get retweeted several times, but there won’t be a single page view coming from Twitter. In other words, the click-through rate (CTR) on Twitter is horrible. And it’s not just me.
An article published on The Atlantic back in February 2015 talks about the same issue: Twitter just doesn’t drive a lot of traffic. The author laments his own problem on Twitter:
If I could prove to my bosses (and to myself) that Twitter could, even occasionally, deliver meaningful audiences, it might validate my infatuation. Alas, my most popular tweets averaged a click-through rate of about 1.7 percent…
The bold emphasis is mine. I checked my own CTR for the last 28 days (as of this writing) and it was slightly less than 1%.
Twitter Doesn’t Drive A Lot Of Website Traffic
The problems of people retweeting without clicking on the link and overall terrible click-through rates go hand-in-hand. From my own experience, and from the little research I’ve done, it seems like Twitter doesn’t send a lot of visitors to websites.
Now, before you jump all over me to say I’m full of BS and your own experience differs from mine, remember I’m speaking in general terms here. Some people will get better click-through rates than others.
What About Celebrities On Twitter, Or Those With A Massive Following?
You’d think that the more followers one has, there’d be an increase in click-throughs, right? Wrong. A study done back in 2012 (I’m going to assume Twitter habits haven’t changed much since then) showed that the more followers one has, the less click-throughs they get.
The study found that followers with 50-1,000 followers saw an average CTR of 6.16%, while people with 10,000+ followers saw an average CTR of just .45%.
I’ll be the first to say that this confuses me slightly because I fall into the first category and my CTR is nowhere near 6%. This means there are other factors at play, like the quality of the followers, quality of links, time of day, the subject one tweets about, etc. I noticed on another (now deleted) Twitter account that political tweets with links to political news and commentary had a much higher CTR than other subjects.
Twitter Is A Complicated Beast
Twitter is complicated. This is my takeaway from my experience (and research) on the social media site. Twitter doesn’t seem all that effective at driving massive amounts of traffic to your website, but it can still boost your online reputation and get your name in front of a lot of people. If used properly, Twitter is still a great tool every author, entrepreneur, etc should have in his/her marketing arsenal. Just don’t forget the “social” in social media.
Photo Credit: Widjaya Ivan via Flickr (used under CC license)