Brands’ Twitter Engagement Rates Seen Higher on Weekends

buddymedia-best-days-to-tweet-by-indus-june2012.pngAlthough only 19% of brand tweets are published on weekends, these tweets show engagement rates that are 17% higher than weekdays, according to a June 2012 Buddy Media report. Certain industries can benefit even more from tweeting on weekends: for example, engagement for sports brands is 52% higher than average on the weekend. Clothing and fashion brands (+30%) also see higher-than-average engagement rates on the weekend, despite only 12% of industry tweets occurring then. For the publishing industry, Saturday sees engagement rates that are 29% higher, though only 7% of tweets occur on that day. And for the entertainment industry, Sunday and Monday are key, with tweets published then receiving 23% more engagement than average.

According to May 2012 research from Bit.ly, though, when looking to achieve high click counts, tweeting a link earlier in the week (Monday through Thursday) gives the best chance. However, January research from Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella – that analyzed 200,000 link-containing tweets – disputes this, finding that click-through rates (CTRs) are higher on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday than during the week.

The Buddy Media report defines engagement rate as a combination of the number of replies and retweets a tweet receives, factoring in the number of followers. All analysis in reference to tweet timing and scheduling is based on Eastern Standard Time (EST).

“Busy Hours” Get Higher Engagement Rates

Further data from Buddy Media’s “Strategies for Effective Tweeting: A Statistical Review” indicates that when brands tweet between 8 AM and 7 PM (“busy hours”), they get 30% more engagement than during “non-busy hours.” This aligns with the Bit.ly research on click-throughs, which found that the optimal time to post tweets containing links is between 1 and 3 PM.

Interestingly, though, referring to earlier research, the Buddy Media report suggests that Facebook post engagement rates are 17% higher during non-busy hours. The Bit.ly research indicates that on Facebook, links posted from 1-4 PM result in the highest average click throughs.

Ask For Retweets And Ye Shall Receive

The Buddy Media report also finds that tweets that specifically ask followers to retweet or “RT” get 12 times higher retweet rates than those that do not contain this request. And yet, just 1% of brands use this strategy. Of note, spelling out the word “retweet” results in retweet rates that are 23 times the average, compared to the shortened “RT,” which only sees a retweet rate 10 times higher.

This result is supported by May 2012 research from Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella. He found that tweets containing the phrase “please retweet” were retweeted 4 times more often than those not containing a call to action.

Other Findings:

  • According to the Buddy Media report, there is an inverse relationship between daily tweet frequency and engagement. The optimal amount of daily tweets appears to be between 1 and 4, although a single daily tweet receives the highest engagement rate.
  • Tweets that contain less than 100 characters demonstrate 17% higher engagement than longer tweets. According to Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella, though, this differs when looking for click-throughs: those between 120 and 130 characters in length appear to have the highest CTR.
  • Per the Buddy Media study, tweets that contain links get 86% higher retweet rates than tweets without links.
  • Tweets with hashtags receive twice as much engagement as those without. However, only 24% of brand tweets contain hashtags.
  • Tweets with image links also have twice the engagement rate of those without.

About the Data: The Buddy Media findings are based on an analysis of user engagement from more than 320 Twitter handles of the world’s biggest brands. The study was conducted between December 11, 2011, and February 23, 2012.