When you're picking, choosing, and crafting content to power your Twitter marketing efforts, it's easy to think that measurements like clickthroughs and retweets would both reflect "successful" or "engaging" content -- or insert your own unicorns-and-rainbows adjective there. "Remarkable," "worth sharing," and "interesting" all work well, too. But, as it often is, reality can be different than what feels true.
I looked at 2.7 million link-containing tweets and found something interesting: There is no correlation between retweets and clicks. In fact, 16.12% of the link-containing tweets I analyzed generated more retweets than clicks, meaning many people will retweet a tweet with a link without even clicking on that link. The data also emphasizes that the factors leading to a link-containing tweet being retweeted are sometimes different than the factors that lead to it getting clicked on. Below, you'll find an infographic detailing my findings.
How to Act on This Data
So what does all this mean? When you're planning your social media strategy, be clear about your goals for each tweet you put out there. Are you sharing your content to drive traffic to your website that you eventually want to convert into leads or customers? If so, then your goal should be get Twitter followers to click on the links in your tweets. A few ways to optimize your Twitter clickthrough rate is to experiment with link placement within your tweets, use between 120 and 130 characters in your tweets, and test publishing frequency, word choice, and timing.
On the other hand, if the goal of some of your tweets is, for example, to share content you've found across the web to become a thought leader and gain followers, then you'll probably want to optimize those tweet to generate retweets. In this case, asking for retweets with the phrase "please retweet" is one of the easiest ways to get more retweets. In fact, my research indicates that including "please retweet" in tweets generates 4x more retweets. For some other best practices for generating retweets, check out our article about "11 Guaranteed Ways to Get Others to Retweet Your Content."
Obviously most companies will do some of both, but be clear which is the highest priority every time you tweet.
Did any of this data surprise you? Are you consciously thinking about your goals for every tweet?