Which has more value to content producers – a tweet or a Facebook share? New data from SocialTwist throws up some interesting answers.
The company’s Social Media Sharing Trends 2010 Report is based on the social media sharing analysis of millions of referral messages sent using the Tell-a-Friend widget from August 2009 to July 2010. It suggests that Facebook is the dominant social networking site for sharing links but Twitter might be better for click-throughs.
Email is still the biggest source of referrals, accounting for 55% of the shares made, though it lost 4% share since last year. Social networks accounted for 24% of shares.
Yet when it came to people actually clicking on the links, social networks reigned supreme. Usage of social networking sites for sharing links increased more than 10%, with Facebook as the clearly dominant service. Social networking sites account for over 60% of the click-thoughs, a bump up of over 16% from last year.
Within social networking, Facebook accounted for 78% of referrals, followed by 14.5% for MySpace, 5% for Twitter and Google-owned Orkut for 2%.
The click-through rates told a different story. For every link shared on Facebook, 2.87 people clicked through to the original story. Every link posted on Twitter generated 19.04 clicks, more than six times as much.
I think there are a few simple reasons for this. The main point is that Twitter has a 140-character limit so anyone who is curious will need to click through to the story, whereas Facebook allows enough information in the post to satisfy the average person’s curiosity without the need to click-through. If your goal is to get people to click, then Twitter has the advantage. If your goal is to simply convey information it’s probably the same either way.
Secondly, most people tend to connect with their real-life friends on Facebook, who may or may not have the same tastes and interests as them. Whereas on Twitter, they are more likely to follow people with a common interest.
However, the data still shows that Facebook is likely to send the majority of traffic, simple based on volume. The click-through rate per share is interesting but increasing the number of shares is still the main game.