Our first results indicate that less than 20% of activity happens to an article after its first 24 hours. In average a story has 5-20 social actions per 1000 pageviews. For most feeds, top 7 stories a week capture 65% Facebook actions and 25% retweets. The correlation between pageviews and social signals is surprisingly low. Our measurements indicate a double digit improvement potential for social
In our temporal study we track 20 articles from each of the following sources: Washington Post, Gizmodo, CNN, MSNBC, HuffingtonPost, Yahoo News, New York Times, Engadget, Mashable, and TechCrunch. On average, every story has 901 Facebook actions (likes, shares and Facebook comments), 221 retweets and 660 clicks on from Bitly-shortened links. The following table represents percentages of activities for the first, second, third, forth and fourth interval of 24 hours after publication. Note that the total share of activity is significantly less than 100%. This is due to activity in the interval between the time a story was published and the time Ediscope has discovered it. Out of all sources, Engadget articles have the slowest decay of activity and Yahoo News has the sharpest decay.
- Majority (typically, over 80%) of social activity happens during the first 24 hours.
- Monotonicity. Majority of shapes are monotone or monotone after daytime correction (bumpnext-morning effect).
- Twitter is geeky. While mainstream sources like NYT, Yahoo, CNN, MSNBC and Washington Post have up to 10 Facebook actions for one retweet, TechCrunch and Mashable have more retweets than Facebook signals. The Facebook advantage over Twitter in mainstream news indicates that it can be a more reliable signal for content optimization solutions.
- Non-original content has lower activity. HuffingtonPost has two patterns: one for original posts, another for aggregated content. Five links from TechCrunch feed are re-posts from CrunchGear and TechCrunch.EU and have much lower counts than TC-proper articles.
- User experience flaws. The sharing functionality can have serious affect on total amount of activity. In particular, at New York Times Twitter buttons do not directly tweet the story, but instead ask reader to use Twitter for logging into NYT.
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