December 29, 2009

US Newspapers Twitter usage statistics

The newspaper industry, like many others, has turned to Twitter for promotion, customer relations and sharing information. According to a study by The Bivings Group, papers have a range of tweeting styles.
• Given the pure volume of accounts, they decided to closely analyze 300 profiles from the top 100 newspapers in the country
• They were able to find multiple Twitter accounts for all of the top 100 newspapers using common sense searching techniques.
• Only 62% of the newspapers included links to at least one of their accounts from their website. In many cases, these links were buried on the site and difficult to track down. In addition, this means 38% of the newspapers are actively using Twitter, but haven’t yet integrated their presence with their website in even a minimal way.
• 56% of newspapers maintained a directory of their Twitter accounts on their website. This directory from the Los Angeles Times is a good example of the form these listings usually took. Many of these directories were quite extensive, listing dozens of accounts.
• Of the 300 Twitter profiles they looked at in depth, the average account had 17,717 followers and followed back 1,470 other users. However, if you remove the four accounts they looked at that had over 100,000 followers, the average number of followers drops to a much more modest 3,447 users.
• The Twitter profiles of the newspapers send out an average of 11 tweets per day. Tweet frequency varies from 1.1 (The Boston Globe's Big Picture, The Denver Post's Woody Paige, and The Akron Beacon Journal) to 95.5 tweets/day (The Boston Herald).
• 51% of Twitter accounts were updated primarily through Twitter’s web interface. The next most popular method with 28% was Twitterfeed, which is a service that automatically posts updates to Twitter accounts via RSS feeds. The remaining 21% of accounts were updated via a variety of other Twitter tools such as Tweetdeck and Hootsuite. This indicates that the vast majority of Twitter accounts (around 70%) are updated by staff members as opposed to a simply being an automated feed.
• Many of the accounts they looked at rarely if ever interacted with other users by replying to tweets. Indeed, 33% of the accounts they looked at replied to users in less than 1% of their tweets. 15% of the accounts they looked at had never replied to another users tweets. This suggests that these papers are rarely reading or reacting to the updates of people they follow.
• On the positive side, 37% of newspaper accounts they looked at replied to users in more than 10% of their tweets. 5% of accounts replied to other Twitter users in over 50% of their tweets.
• Similarly, many of the accounts they looked at rarely retweeted other users. 43% of the accounts they looked at retweeted others in less than 1% of their tweets. 23% of the accounts they looked at never retweeted another user during the time period they considered.
• 16% of the Twitter accounts they looked at retweeted other users in more than 10% of their tweets.


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