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The Timing of Tweets
Posted on November 6th 2012
What is the best time for a company to Tweet?
Catching the attention of individuals on Twitter is challenging at the best of times, however could it be that some times are better than others?
First we look at activity by day of week:
Tweets on the weekend perform about 50% better on average.
In particular we observe an increase in the number of comments received when a post is made on the weekend, presumably because people have more time.
Next we look at the response by time of day. Note that the while the majority of posting activity in this study was targeted at US based audiences, there is still a challenge in interpreting the data due to time zone differences. Hence we have split the day into 3 broad sections, specified in Central Standard Time.
The early Tweet catches the user
Tweeting in the evening results in around 60% more Retweets than during the day. This corresponds to a similar result we observed for Facebook Posts. Interestingly, and unlike Facebook, overnight and early morning Tweeting performed even better still, outperforming daytime Tweets by over 100%.
Aside from the availability of users, another reason that out-of-hours Tweets may perform better is lack of competition. As the charts below show, despite the poorer response the bulk of Tweeting happens during regular hours.
Business are consistently tweeting at the wrong time
Finally, we observe that despite out-of-hours Tweets outperforming regular-hours Tweets by some margin, businesses are still concentrating the bulk of their efforts on Twitter during business hours.
We believe that, in general, this means they are hitting a smaller audience at a more competitive time. The result: less than half the response levels.
As always, we need to reinforce that these are aggregate results. We observe a lot of variation between brands, and it is critically important to consider each specific situation and analyze each brand on its own merits. For example, if you are targeting a business user, clearly tweeting out of hours would not generally produce the best results.
However there are some general rules of thumb we can give to brands targeting a non-business audience:
- Look at tweeting consistently across the day. Unless your product demands it, do not Tweet only in business hours.
- For many products morning and evening Tweets are clearly superior.
- Consider tweeting at least equally across the days of the week.
- Take into account holidays and other cultural events.
- Consider that your audience may be in multiple timezones.
Track Social offers enterprise clients an advanced program of Social Content Optimization. For more information, and to apply for a free assessment of your brand's social performance, go here.
We will have a Twitter Engagement white paper coming up soon. To get notice when it is released, sign up here.
To get our Optimizing Facebook Engagement white paper, go here.
For the methodology of this study, go here.