Archives For October 2010

Two interesting articles regarding the attention (and calls to action) both Twitter and Facebook are getting.  This Information Week article reports that 71% of tweets are ignored (thank you Richard Rashty for the head’s up), while at the same time this Fast Company article  (thank you Dion Hinchcliffe for this one) reports that Twitter’s click through rate is crushing that of Facebook’s by almost an order of magnitude.  Good news for Twitter for sure, but why such a high CTR?    
Some contributing factors:
  • as fellow 2.0 Adoption Council member Rob Caldera points out, Twitter only allows for a brief blurb and a link.  It’s more of a tease really and users are tempted to peak behind the curtain.  Facebook, however, provides much more context and visual information to help users decide if they want to click on a link or not.  
  • Dion commented that there are more things to do on Facebook than click on links (view photos, play games, set up events, ads, etc…) while on Twitter you’re limited to writing, reading and clicking on a link.  The odds are in Twitter’s favor there. And because of that, maybe there’s…
  • …selection bias in Twitter’s audience.  Once you become aware of the limited ‘read-write-click’  set of Twitter options, you may choose not to participate.  Those left have decided to stay because the value they are getting: generally a small dose of insight followed by a source link.  They want links to click on.  
  • And speaking of value, the friction involved in tweaking my graphs to optimize value also comes into play.  In Twitter, I have none of the guilt unfriending my sister in Facebook would inevitably produce.  My network on Twitter is purely there to provide me with value in the form of insight + links.  Once value drops you can (guiltlessly, in most cases) unfollow them.  

Some other interesting questions that would be good to have answers to:

  • what % of Facebook updates get viewed/ignored?  Peter Fasano, I know you have the answer to this.  
  • what does ‘ignored’ mean?  As my colleague Tom Cummings points out, even if you take no action on an update (either Twitter or Facebook) there might be value in simply seeing an update and creating brand awareness.