The folks at bit.ly, the popular URL shortener service, asked themselves just how long a link shared on a social network “lives”. And they found out that links shared on Twitter lasted only half as long as links shared on YouTube.
Twitter users have short attention spans, if this bit.ly study holds true.
The bit.ly researchers decided to measure the longevity of shortened links on social networks by looking at their half-life: “the amount of time at which this link will receive half of the clicks it will ever receive after it’s reached its peak.”
They looked at 1,000 popular bit.ly links, and they found that Twitter has the shortest half-life of any social network: just 2.8 hours. Compare this to Facebooks 3.2 hours and YouTubes massive 7.4 hours.
In general, the average bit.ly link can expect a half-life of about 3 hours.
Despite the average differences between Twitter, Facebook and YouTube link lifespan, the science team at bit.ly notes that the differences between the social networks might be less than the difference between the content shared in those links.
That is, what you share is likely more important than where you share it.
For instance, breaking news has a much shorter half-life than non-news links, but a much quicker peak after it`s been shared.
So think carefully about what you’re sharing and which network is best to share it on, if you want to see the maximum number of clicks on your content.