A/B Test: Why You Need to Include Photos in Your Tweets
As community managers, we are constantly on the hunt for small tweaks that go a long way. But on Twitter, when the goal is driving engagement, clicks, etc., only having 140-characters to work with can be intimidating.
How can you craft copy that’s eye-catching and creative enough to inspire your audience to click, favorite, or respond? This is certainly possible with clever copy, but nothing helps more than a killer photo.
Over the past few months, just like you, I’ve been running into headlines like this:
And just like you, I’d say, “Yes, yes we know…But the quality of the content factors into this as well, right?”
I started paying closer attention. I’d include an image with a link to our latest blog post and the RTs/Favorites would start pouring in. So I figured I’d do what we do here at Simply Measured: Test and report my findings.
Tweet Without a Photo:
— Simply Measured (@simplymeasured) May 5, 2014
Tweet With a Photo:
— Simply Measured (@simplymeasured) April 28, 2014
My Tweets would have the same copy, sent at the same time on the same day of the week, but with a link instead of an image. And, you guessed it, the image Tweets would outperform the text-only Tweets every single time.
Here’s the process I followed for this A/B test. I strongly encourage any community manager to run these simple tests on the different components of your content. To be honest, we have a great design team that not every social media team has access to. You need to understand your own unique best practices for driving engagement, and that’s a good thing: You have anability as a marketer to measure every single thing you do, and improve based on the results.
To get the best snapshot of how photos were performing in contrast to links, I had to control for a few factors:
- Tweet copy: Tweaks in copy can make a huge difference, especially if you change your CTAs.
- Tweet content: Obviously, the content you’re Tweeting has a major impact on your audience’s interest level.
- Day of the week: Certain days are more engaging than others.
- Time of Day: Firing off a Tweet at 7:30pm might not be as effective as Tweeting at 9:30am.
I picked a selection of 12 link-only Tweets from Friday, May 2nd, and used them on Friday, May 9th. However, on May 9th, these 12 Tweets included a link AND a photo.
After diving into my Twitter Account Reports for the respective days, I eliminated any Tweets that weren’t directly part of the experiment. As you can see below, I posted the same Tweets at the same time, on the same day of the week, but with different media types.
The difference in engagement was significant.
In our A/B test, photo Tweets with the same copy, same link, at the same time of day, on the same day of the week lifted engagement by 33%.
Granted, this is only one A/B test, and I always try to exercise caution around making these assumptions. Let’s take a look at how photos affect engagement on a bigger scale:
Overall, Photos Average 13.2 Engagements Per Tweet vs. 5.9 for Links
At the end of the month, I always analyze our Twitter performance. I ask myself questions like:
- “What was our top Tweet?”
- “What time of day was the best for engagement?”
- “What drove the peaks and dips?”
- “What was our most engaging content type?”
In April, photos outperformed links and videos with ease.
Although I Tweeted twice as many links as I did photos, photos drove nearly same total engagement. Engagement per Tweet was much higher for photos: 13.2 vs. 5.9… a 110% increase.
Twitter is becoming an increasingly more visual platform. The redesign, which everyone billed as a Facebook replica, is clearly setting the stage for a more visual experience. Right now, many brands are lagging behind. Photos show up every now and then, but the majority of Twitter is still text based. This is a great time to score a ton of engagements, before more brands catch on.
Looking to analyze your own Twitter account? Simply Measured can help. Click the link below to start a FREE trial of our reporting software, covering every major social network, and helping tie your social media engagement to direct web traffic.
My name is Jade and I'm the Social Media Manager for Simply Measured. We can find common ground in Beyoncé and Chipotle burrito bowls.