Instagram and Twitter May Pair Better Than We Thought

Instagram and Twitter May Pair Better Than We Thought Kevin Shively Blogger Extraordinaire Simply Measured

Instagram links don’t perform well on Twitter, right?

This is the assumption social media marketers have made for the last year, and it’s backed up by the data…but we’re finding this might not be true.

Recently, Twitter updated its activity dashboard. Among other things, this update adds clicks anywhere on a Tweet to the engagement calculation: hashtags, links, avatars, usernames, and “expand this Tweet” now join Replies, Retweets, and Favorites as engagement types.

We’ve talked about the impact of seeing actual impression data through the activity dashboard vs. potential impressions, but I was interested to dig deeper into the URL click data.

This morning, I downloaded the .CSV from my own Twitter activity dashboard and pasted it into the Twitter Analytics tab of my Simply Measured Twitter account report (because this is what I do for fun), and noticed something interesting:

While Instagram photos don’t perform well when I focus on Retweets, Replies, and Favorites, adding in URL clicks paints a much different picture.

This trend is easily identified by looking at my top performing Tweets from July so far. Below is a table of the top seven Tweets without using Twitter’s new engagement metrics:

Screenshot 2014-07-24 09.12.02

Notice that only one of these Tweets is an Instagram link, and it gets a dismal five engagements.

Then I added in the Twitter Activity data and looked at the same breakdown:
Screenshot 2014-07-24 09.10.39
The results are completely different. Of the top seven posts, three are Instagram links. In addition to the Replies, Retweets, and Favorites, they earned over a dozen URL clicks each – a type of engagement I had no idea was happening.

While my account isn’t on the scale of a brand account, this is an important piece of insight. Having the complete picture is what makes measurement so valuable, and a big reason why Twitter’s new metrics are going to change the way we understand the network (and social marketing as a whole).

For example, there are some cases where a URL click could be more valuable than a Favorite, Retweet, or Reply. If I’m focused on brand awareness, the act of opening a new tab to view my image has my users more invested with my brand than if they simply favorite a specific message.

In other cases, a click may be less valuable than those more tangible actions, but the important part is understanding how your audience responds to different types of content.

With the Twitter activity metrics, at least now you know. And in the words of G.I. Joe: Knowing is half the battle.

Kevin Shively

As the head of content marketing at Simply Measured, cohost of the #SimplySocial podcast, and generally delightful person, my job is to tell stories to the internet...You're welcome internet.