What is The Effect of Adding a “Retweet” CTA to Your Tweets? [SEJ STUDY]

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Effect of Adding a "Retweet" CTA to Your Tweets [SEJ Study] | SEJ

As marketers and business owners, we’ve all heard or read about the importance of adding calls-to-action on our content, but many are less informed when it comes to the specifics of those CTAs.

While there is an abundance of information available recommending testing the text, colors, and placements of our CTAs on our websites and blogs, there is less information surrounding using CTAs on social media sites like Twitter. With only 140 characters to get your message across, add your destination link, include the appropriate Twitter handles and hashtags, is it still worth trying to squeeze a call-to-action into your tweets?

These are the questions SEJ set out to answer in its latest independent study. Specifically, will a “retweet” CTA increase reader engagement (measured in retweets)? If so, which CTA is most effective?

Methodology

This study took place from May 11th – September 10th, 2015 – a total of 122 days. During that time, we followed 22 Twitter accounts which published a total of 5148 tweets to almost 350,000 combined followers. Each tweet fell into one of the following groups (each group tweeted 1716 updates):

  1. No Call-to-Action (Control Group)
  2. CTA – ‘Please Retweet’
  3. CTA – ‘Please RT’

Results

Overall, 585 (11.4%) of the updates received at least one retweet, for a total of 976 retweets. However, the updates that included the ‘retweet’ CTAs collected 72.5% of all retweets.

Effect of Adding a "Retweet" CTA to Your Tweets [SEJ Study] | SEJ

Not All CTAs are Created Equal

The results show again the importance of testing. Although both CTAs kindly ask the reader to retweet the message, there ended up being a significant difference in their effectiveness.

While the ‘Please RT’ message accounted for 29.2% of all retweets (285), the fully written out ‘Please Retweet’ was responsible for 43.3% of all retweets.

Effect of Adding a "Retweet" CTA to Your Tweets [SEJ Study] | SEJ

In a separate study, Twitter found that in ‘Promoted Tweets’, it was also more effective to ask for the Retweet at the beginning of the tweet.

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Days of the Week

According to our data, readers were more engaged on Tuesday (26.4% of tweets were retweeted) than on any other day of the week. Wednesday (20%), Friday (23.8%) and Saturday (22.8%) also showed stronger than average engagement.

Effect of Adding a "Retweet" CTA to Your Tweets [SEJ Study] | SEJ

Discussion

  1. Our data may be skewed slightly lower than actual results for a regular or active users. Of the 22 Twitter accounts we watched, a couple were less active accounts and tended to get fewer retweets as a result of that (although one could argue that makes this a more accurate representation, as well).
  2. Although not part of the study, intuitively it would seem that the positive results would diminish over time if you added a ‘Please Retweet’ to every tweet. Has anyone experienced this?

Conclusion

Our data does indicate that a ‘Retweet’ Call-to-Action will affect follower engagement and result in more retweets.

I recommend using it sparingly – for an important event or product announcements, or the publication of a big article – allotting the 15 spaces required to write ‘Please Retweet’ out completely at the beginning of the update, and for best results, add it to your tweets during mid-week or heading into the weekend.

Have you found Twitter calls-to-action be effective in increasing retweets? What other CTAs have you tried on Twitter?

 

This study was conducted by the team at Kairay Media, an online marketing company founded by our Chief Social Media Strategist, Brent Csutoras.

Image Credits

Featured Image: Anya Ku/Shutterstock.com
Screenshot by Brent Carnduff. Taken January 2016.

Brent Carnduff
Brent is Founder and President of Advisor Web Marketing. Based in Las Vegas, NV, AWM specializes in SEO for Financial Advisors.I'm a former public school teacher and High School basketball coach, have a Master of Arts Degree in Teaching from Oregon State University, and MBA in Financial Planning from California Lutheran University. I'm an wanna be writer and aspiring speaker.
Brent Carnduff
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  • Roger Rogerson

    Interesting study.
    The problem with such things is the variance.
    Audience, topic, perceived authority, popularity of topic, time of publishing/posting, nature of post etc.
    It’s darn hard to monitor, label and account for such differences 🙁

    But interesting results, and good enough to followup on 😀

    • Brent Csutoras

      The setup was very calculated, to make sure it was as close as possible.

      For example, same account, same article, a week a part to avoid ‘already seen it’, same day of week, same time of day, etc.

      • Roger Rogerson

        Ah, much much better!
        Testing such things is still difficult – but at least you went to the effort of covering as many variables as possible … if only more people were that thorough 🙁

        That of course means the numbers are far more tight and likely to represent things more realistically – good job!

  • Siri Innovations

    Thank you for sharing this post you given a new update regarding tweets.

  • Collect Now LLC

    Interesting data. Did you test and see if the “Please Retweet” lost it’s value if overused?

    • Brent Csutoras

      Great question. We have the raw data so let me ask and find out.

    • Brent Csutoras

      So I talked with the guys who ran the study and they say that after reviewing the numbers, they saw no decrease in the effect of using a CTA over time. Granted this was only over about 3 months time, so that doesn’t mean that it would not happen over a longer period of time.

  • http://www.thesagenext.com/cloud/quickbooks-hosting.html Alice Wright

    Hello Brent Carnduff,

    I was knew that doing retweet is good and we should do good post so that it can get more retweet but I did not know that how can I do it. This post is very interesting and having good information about retweet. Thanks for this post and keep sharing.

  • Marco Arsenault

    The graphics in this pieces are quite misleading.

    The percentages are over the words “More retweets” implying that the 72.5% is being compared to some baseline that should be at 0%. However the baseline you are comparing to is the control group. Also the number given to the control group is 11.4 but the article mentions “(11.4%) of the updates received at least one retweet, for a total of 976 retweets. However, the updates that included the ‘retweet’ CTAs collected 72.5% of all retweets”

    This implies that the control group had 100-72.5 = 27.5% of retweets. So you should be comparing 72.5 to 27.5 and not 11.4. Moreover if you want to use the words “More retweets” than you should look at the difference between the two groups. Assuming even distribution, adding a CTA gives 72.5-27.5 = 45% more re-tweets.