How long does a shared link get attention for? The folks at Bit.ly, a popular URL shortening service, have provided some insights.
If you’ve ever noticed links you post on Twitter or Facebook get a surge of traffic that dies off fairly quickly, you’re not alone.
The Bit.ly team examined the the half life of 1,000 popular Bitly links; half-life meaning the amount of time in which a link will receive half of the clicks it will ever receive after the traffic has reached its peak.
They found the average half life of a link on Twitter is 2.8 hours and on Facebook, 3.2 hours. When it comes to direct sources such as email or IM clients, the average is around 3.4 hours.
If you’re not really into tweeting or you don’t have a Facebook fan page, this activity might all seem pretty much flash-in-the-pan and therefore not worth chasing; but considering a tweet or a posting a link on Facebook takes well under a minute to do, these little bursts of traffic can really add up – it’s practically traffic for nothing if you’re just pointing folks to content you have published on your site.
Bear in mind, Bitly’s findings are averages – if you have content that’s particularly appealing; you may find you can squeeze a lot more from tweets and posting links to your Facebook page in terms of half-life and even a few hours of activity can generate *a lot* of traffic.
However, given the short “life” of a shared link generally, sometimes re-posting the same link later in the day or a few days later can bring even more traffic it seems. “Second chance tweeting” is something Search Engine Land does; but they warn it’s something you definitely don’t want to overdo.
On a related topic, if you have been tweeting for some time and are disappointed with the number of visits you are receiving from your efforts on Twitter, you may be getting more traffic than you realize due to the way analytics packages report and indirect traffic sources.