Bitly study reveals social attention span

Posted on September 12, 2011


Ever wonder about the longevity of your social media content? A new report from bitly has revealed just how much time a social media story has to gain attention. The report, which was based on data gathered by the company about 1000 popular links, revealed that attention for trending articles averagely diminishes after around three hours.

This finding confirms that attention is a fleeting thing in social media circles, something that those in SEO careers have suspected for a long time. With links experiencing high volumes of traffic for a few hours at best, the pressure is on for site owners to produce fresh content.

The study did show that the life of a link strongly depended on the originating site. Twitter links had the shortest life, with 2.8 hours of half life, or half of the clicks a link receives after its peak. Facebook links fare better, as do links shared via email, and YouTube links fare best of all, with a half life of 7.4 hours.

Links featured in the study diminished in popularity at widely varying rates, depending on their content. Some lost clicks after only five minutes while others managed to hold on to a significant number of clicks for hours.

What the study shows is that the longevity of a link will depend on the forum it’s featured in. If site owners want their links to attract lasting attention for SEO, they are best advised to choose a social media site with a longer attention span.

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