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What Makes a Tweet Engaging? [CHART]

Joel Rothman
Senior Product Consultant

With the Twitter IPO, successfully behind us, we decided to analyze over the past week what makes a tweet successful. Twitter offers some interesting analytics, so I dug into the @Eloqua handle to see what I could learn.

How the data is broken down:

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Twitter allows you to see if your tweet has been favorited, retweeted or replied to. Each of these elements indicates a level of engagement. For each tweet, I added the numbers in each category to develop a score. I grouped the top 20% as leaders, the bottom 20% as laggards and the rest as average performing tweets. I then sliced to data with the following information:

  • Is there a hashtag?

  • Is anybody @ tagged?

  • Is there a link?


The tweet rundown:


Leading tweets contained hashtags about 2/3rds of the time. For laggards this figure was almost entirely flipped, as they contain hashtags about 39% of the time.

Tagging someone in a tweet does slightly increase the propensity for that tweet to be a leader. More than half (52%) of leading tweets include a tag. Conversely, 80% of the time, laggard tweets do not tag anybody.

Interestingly, leading tweets contain links 93% of the time. Average tweets contain links 84% of the time, and laggards are closer to 50/50.

The most surprising outcome for me was how little affect having an @tag in your tweet does to the engagement effectiveness of a tweet. I would have expected people to interact more if they were directly tagged. My read is more people might see it, but they are less likely to engage by retweeting or favoriting. I am surprised that it didn't drive more people to reply and engage.  It’s also no surprise that tweets that contain links are more engaging than those that do not.

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