One of the questions we’re asked every day is, “How do I know if my TweetReach report numbers are good enough?” Raw metrics can be useful, but to be truly valuable they need to be evaluated in context.
Of course, we generally don’t recommend that you compare your social media results to others’. There are so many variables that play into a tweet’s or campaign’s reach that there is no single benchmark that applies to every situation. However, it is helpful for you to know what sorts of TweetReach numbers are appropriate in general, and how to interpret your particular results. Additionally, we recommend that you run regular reports and compare your metrics over time (you can also do this automatically with a TweetReach Tracker).
So, on to the numbers. Below are several benchmarks you can use to understand the impact of your full TweetReach reports (some of these metrics will also apply to the free 50-tweet reports, but we’ll be publishing another post soon that specifically addresses free reports). An individual full report will include up to the most recent 1,500 tweets from the past week. We used data from a large set of reports that hit that 1,500-tweet maximum in the past 12 months for the following metrics.
Reach and Exposure
In a full report (1,500 tweets), you’ll likely see reach and exposure numbers like the following:
Low: 100,000 or less
High: 1,000,000 or more
Low: 300,000 or less
High: 5,000,000 or more
The reach and exposure numbers will vary from report to report, depending on context. A report for a one-hour Twitter party will be different from a report for a three-day conference, which will be different from a report for a press release or a news event. But the above numbers are a good approximation of an appropriate baseline for any report.
If your numbers are low, look for contributors who were tweeting many times to a small amount of followers; this could be perceived as spammy to their followers. Higher reach numbers indicate that more unique people were potentially reached with tweets about your message.
More important than the reach and exposure numbers on their own is the number of people reached compared to the overall impressions generated. No matter how many tweets are in your report, this reach:exposure ratio is an important one to interpret.
A low reach:exposure number (anything 0.2 or lower) suggests a large number of contributors are tweeting multiple times about the hashtag or keyword, so the message is not spreading far beyond those people’s followers and a number of people are possibly being inundated by tweets about this term. Low ratios are fine in many cases (for example, reports about regional issues will likely be between 0.1 and 0.2), but you should be concerned if you see numbers below 0.05. That suggests that someone is tweeting a lot about your keyword, to the point of being spammy.
An average or moderate ratio would be anywhere between 0.2 and 0.4. This suggests a normal distribution of tweets, retweets, and amplification. In this case, some people are tweeting multiple times, some influencers are tweeting to lots of followers, and most people are tweeting once or twice to their smaller set of followers. Most people will see 2-5 tweets about your message. This is exactly the range we expect most reports to fall in and it’s totally appropriate.
The closer this reach:exposure number gets to 1, the more diversity in contributors to this report. Ratios of 0.6 or higher indicate that a wide variety of different people are tweeting to a number of diverse followers, spreading the message far and wide. Most people are not seeing more than one or two tweets about the hashtag or keyword. This is ideal if you want amplification of your message. You should only be concerned if this number is higher than 0.85 or so (which is incredibly rare). This indicates that most people are only seeing one tweet about this message, which does not bode well for retention. Most people will likely forget about something if they only see it once.
Low: 200 or less
High: 1,000 or more
A report for a Twitter party or hashtag chat will generally include tweets from fewer than 300 contributors. This is perfectly fine – over a short time period like an hour or two, a few hundred people in an organized chat or party will easily generate 1,500 tweets. If you’re tracking more general brand or product mentions and your 1,500-tweet report includes fewer than 200 contributors, then you should look at who’s talking (and how much), and what other things you can be doing to encourage your message to spread. In this case, it’s quite possible a few people are talking a lot about one thing in particular, and you might want to investigate that.
A larger brand or a longer-term or high-visibility event should generate higher contributor numbers. If your report include recent general mentions of a common brand name, for example, you’d expect to see at least 1,300 contributors in a 1,500-tweet report, suggesting that most people mention the brand once, then move on. A big product launch or popular press release should generate at least 1,000 contributors.
Low retweets: 200 or fewer
Average retweets: 300-500
High retweets: 650 or more
Most reports will include mostly regular tweets, like the pie chart on the left. In fact, most reports include 50% to 75% standard (non-reply, non-retweet) tweets. That’s roughly 700-1,100 regular tweets in a report.
A report for a Twitter party or hashtag conversation will likely include a large percentage of @ replies, like the pie chart on the right. This suggests the message is not spreading much beyond the people engaging in the conversation. To help to message spread beyond that circle next time, you could explicitly encourage participants to retweet or tweet directly, instead of @ replying.
For a useful general benchmark, look at the number of retweets your report includes. Most reports include a few hundred retweets; usually about 20% – 35% of all tweets in a report are retweets, as both the pie charts demonstrate. Very, very few reports have more than 50% retweets. If your goal is to spread a message as far as possible, aim for higher numbers of retweets.
Hopefully these approximate benchmarks will help you interpret your full TweetReach report. We’ll be posting more benchmarks for free quick reports and Trackers soon, as well as more detailed discussions about data for different contexts, so check back in for those posts.