In July 2006, when Twitter first opened its doors to an unsuspecting public, two metrics have been permanently on the top of everyone’s ‘must do better’ list – your followers total, and the number of click-throughs you get from the links you share in your tweets.
Like most communities, Twitter comes with its own set of norms and expectations, and the language and style that you use in your tweets can have a direct impact on how those messages are received by your followers, which can lead to more – or, indeed, less – click-throughs, depending on what you have said and how you have said it.
Hubspot’s Dan Zarrella analysed 200,000 link-containing tweets to see which words, phrases and characters correlated with a higher or lower click-through rate (CTR).
Up first, the hashtag. Surprisingly, the CTR of a link was essentially the same whether a hashtag was used or not.
What about retweets? Zarrella discovered that using ‘via’ as your retweet method as opposed to the standard RT produced a better overall CTR – 6.37% versus 4.19%.
Less surprisingly, Zarrella also noted that directing tweets at a person using an @mention had a better CTR than links shared in open tweets.
Moreover, being polite also pays – saying ‘please’ had a notable impact on link CTRs.
As did using the word ‘check’.
(So, one imagines that saying ‘please check this out…’ could be doubly effective, if a little desperate.)
Zarrella also looked at the impact of the phrase ‘daily is out’, which is part of the message that Paper.li shares when publishing your Twitter summary. Incredibly, links shared via Paper.li have a CTR sixteen times better than those without.
Finally, and this might raise a few eyebrows, one word to avoid in your tweets is ‘marketing’ – links shared using this word had a CTR of just 1.47%.
What do you think of this study? Will you be changing the way you write your tweets to see if it improves your click-through rate? Hit the comments to let us know.