The Timing of Tweets

Posted on November 6th 2012

The Timing of Tweets

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:

  1. Look at tweeting consistently across the day. Unless your product demands it, do not Tweet only in business hours.
  2. For many products morning and evening Tweets are clearly superior.
  3. Consider tweeting at least equally across the days of the week.
  4. Take into account holidays and other cultural events.
  5. 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.

 

Morgan J. Arnold

Morgan J. Arnold

CEO, Track Social

Morgan J. Arnold is a marketing entrepreneur with a PhD in Engineering. Morgan is CEO of Track Social, the leader in Engagement Optimization.

Track Social monitors, aggregates and analyzes the Social Media accounts of thousands of businesses across multiple social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Track Social provides a self-serve Analytics Platform as well as Professional Reporting, Social Advertising and Enterprise Consulting services.

Morgan is also CEO of Sprokkit, The Smart Marketing Agency.

See Full Profile >

Comments

RGBSocial
Posted on November 7th 2012 at 5:51AM

Hi Morgan - Thanks for the post. It's interesting information, and makes sense that tweeting during off-hours can out perform those during business hours due to increased volume... tough to stand out with so much noise. 

I've seen many articles in the past stating that tweeting in the early to mid afternoon - roughly 1-3pm - is the best time to tweet for click-throughs. Do you have any insight on what is behind that suggestion?

Thanks.

Matthew.

olinjoseph
Posted on November 9th 2012 at 1:52PM

This is a good point, which is what aggravates me about these articles.  Within our industry, we continue to just sling around snipplets of data without any context.  I've read 100 articles like this that claim they've hit the "sweet spot" for social media publishing.

Morgan - I'm not critisizing any of your information, and I appreciate you making it public domain.  But, if you wouldn't care, provide a little more upfront information regarding the methodology of how you got to these findings.  What brands you analyzed, etc.  Immediately, the only thought the comes to mind is, "how skewed are these results based on the clients we work with?"

Olin

kaizenfra
Posted on November 7th 2012 at 10:36AM

Good information Morgan! It's very useful to have these informations above all that social media studies are evolving.

I think that one of the social media problem is to understand WHERE "live" our users but above all WHEN we have to speak with our followers.

For completeness I submit to your attention this study: http://www.rakacreative.com/blog/post/best-time-to-tweet-and-post-to-fac...

and an article where we speak about some instruments that can help to answer for specific domain at the Question: "When our followers are online?"

You can read our article on http://www.mediabeta.com/blog/pianificare-campagna-social-media-per-ente-istituzionale/

in the same article we cited a good research about Facebook written by Momentus Media.

Thank you for your work

Francesco 

chatmeter
Posted on November 7th 2012 at 6:21PM

This is really smart. I know a lot of people just send out just whenever they get it done or whenever they feel like it. Now you have graphs that can clearly show that it does matter when you send it out. In my experience, it's also a good idea to send it out once in the morning and then again at night. They way, more pepole would be likely to see it. And I assme that this applies to the management of not only Twitter, but all of your companies <a href="http://www.chatmeter.com/social-media-analytics/"> social media. <a/>

JC Giraldo
Posted on November 7th 2012 at 6:32PM

Thanks for this very good info Morgan !

Actually I am sharing on Twitter and my FB Page .

Very interesting part about the Weekend uh..? Well I call #Tweetkend :)

strange thing that, for example in the updates, Facebook Pages, you can see little "activity" on the weekends.

As the Social Media is "type" office hours, Monday to Friday, in some cases.??

Of course I Understand about diference time with others countries.

You think, that we should, have a "shift" for Social Media?You know my point as 9 to 5 pm I guess ,No

Thanks again for you very good Post

Best from Boston

Juan Carlos

 

NCairns
Posted on November 8th 2012 at 11:52PM

Morgan,

I have a question on the data that is published, Is this based more on B2C or B2B strategy?


I find the article very interesting but I need to know just a little bit more before I try and apply in our atmosphere.


Thank you,

Nick