Is there an optimum length for a Tweet you might wonder?
I always recommend in my workshops that we should look to keep the length of the Tweet under 120 characters (perhaps even a little less) should people choose to re-Tweet you and use the old re-Tweet approach. Many people put the url in a Tweet at the end of their content and this will typically happen if people share content from your website.
Of course when you craft your own Tweets, you can place the url in the middle of your Tweet which is what I typically do.
Dan Zarrella shared some research recently where he looked at the Tweet-length in characters and it’s relationship to ReTweets. The data set was up to 1.4 million randomly selected Tweets, from 1.2 million different accounts.
He found that Tweets between 100 and 115 characters were 34% more likely to be ReTweeted than Tweets outside of that range and a big drop off in ReTweet probability occurs once Tweets get beyond about 120 characters, but up to that point, the longer the Tweet, the better.
This is also a useful reminder to those of you who automate sharing updates from Facebook to Twitter or Pinterest to Twitter where posting a long status update so it does not have an effective call to action.
One Tweet that recently defied this research was the two word Tweet from Nokia UK which currently holds the record for being the most retweeted brand content ever, an accolade previously held by Oreo.
The Nokia tweet was sent during Apple’s launch event for its new iPhones and Nokia momentarily shared the tweet with an image of their own phones pointing out the similarity between the newly launched iPhone 5s colour phones and its own range.
The two-word tweet from Nokia’s UK account said “Thanks, #Apple” and the image had the statement “Imitation is the best form of flattery” – the number of retweets currently stands at 40.737.
As part of his recent research, Zarella looked at some other factors around re-Tweets.
If you share an image in your Tweet where the content is hosted on Facebook you are 47 percent less likely to have that Tweet retweeted:
If you host your images on Twitpic your tweets are 64 percent more likely to be retweeted:
If you use Instagram to host your images and share to Twitter you are 42 percent less likely to be retweeted. This is probably due to the fact that Twitter cards do not render so people have to click through to see your photographs unless they are using a way of by-passing this block for example using the Hootsuite mobile app to read their Twitter stream or using a recipe on IFTT to ensure that the images appear inline in Twitter when shared from Instagram:
Tweets that unclude images hosted on Twitter – so uploaded to Twitter directly – are 94 percent more likely to be retweeted:
If you include quotes in your tweets you are more likely to be retweeted – Tweets including quotation marks were 30% more likely to be ReTweeted than those that did not:
If you include hashtags in your Twitter posts you are more likely to be retweeted – Tweets that contain one or more hashtags were 55% more likely to be ReTweeted than Tweets that did not:
The least re-tweetable words:
The most retweetable words – I have rarely if ever requested a retweet and I never mention ‘new blog post’ :
How will this data change the way that you plan your Twitter content to support your marketing and communications plans?
And remember that nmber of retweets is only one level of measurement that you should be reviewing – click throughs and conversions may be more important for you to measure and review.