Update on Twitter CTR Rates

Last month, I wrote about what sort of clickthrough rate you could expect from links shared on Twitter. I rewrote and expanded that post over on Mashable. Thanks to those who commented on my original post–your thoughts informed my rewriting.

I hoped that the Mashable post would enable me to expand the survey I ran, so that I could gather a more consequential amount of data. I was a little surprised to only gather another 80 or so data points, but that did move the numbers a little bit.

Working with about 140 responses who collectively have 333,000 folllowers, I found that the average clickthrough rate was 1.7%. The trend of more followers equaling a lower click through rate has definitely held true, though. For those respondents with more than 5000 followers, the click through rate is a mere 0.9%. For those with less than 5000 followers, it’s 3.5%. For those with less than 1000 followers, it’s 6%. This scatter graph hopefully illustrates that trend. That’s followers on the x-axis, and CTRs on the y-axis. To make the diagram more readable, I excluded a couple of the really big follower counts (click for the largess):

CTR Rates for Twitter

A recent FriendFeed comment from Tim O’Reilly also bears this out. He’s discussing the huge boost in followers he’s received since being added to Twitter’s Suggested Users List:

I had about 60K twitter followers when I went on the SUL; my peak click through-rate has perhaps doubled now that I have 10 times as many. Organic followers are what matters, except, as I say, for the media credibility that you get from people who don’t know any better.

As I mentioned on Mashable, I’m not a statistician, so take this kind of analysis with a big salt lick. I also mentioned several other mitigating factors. I’m uncertain about what impact bots spidering Twitter and following links are having on these results. I welcome any insights you might have on that, or any aspect of my sketchy math. Another consideration is that when a URL gets retweeted, you’re adding the retweeting user’s followers to the mix. Lastly, I asked those who completed the survey to pick an ‘average’ number of clicks, so that depends on each respondent’s potentially unscientific estimate.


  1. Interesting data and thanks doing the work. I’m wondering if the results are skewed by people who use automated software to gather more followers vs those who spend longer building up a follower list and developing a relationship along the way. Not sure there’s any way to measure that though.

  2. I would be interested in plotting CTR vs follower/following ratio. I’d like to see the patterns. For example, those who have apparently excessive ratios (1:10,000) would potentially be RT’d more than those with lower ratios. Or would they? That’s a question that at least, is interesting for me 🙂

  3. It also makes me wonder about the following rate of the tweeters. If I have 5000 followers, how many people are each of them following and does their twitter traffic effect my click-through rate. I would assume it does simply based on the old “if you don’t see it, you won’t click it” rule.

    I have no idea how you’d collect that data though.

  4. Congrats! I’ve been following the refinement of the analysis and I think it’s great. Looking at the latest chart again it just occurred to me, (I’m not a statistician either), but I bet if you plotted the data on a log-log scale you would get something close to a straight line. I’m not sure what that would imply, but it might lead somewhere interesting and maybe useful..

    Just a thought fwiw,

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