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Social Science: Your shared links are short lived on social networks

We’d like to think that the links we share on social networks have a life of their own. However, the links we share on social networks have a half-life shorter than the North American mayfly.

While a mayfly can live for up to 24 hours, most of the energy behind the links you share on social networks is spent in a few hours. According to, the leading site for shortening and sharing links, links shared from Twitter have a half life of 2.8 hours. This means that in less than three hours the link has gotten half of the click-thrus it will EVER get. The average link shared from Facebook has a half life of 3.2 hours. The longest-lived links are those shared from YouTube, which average a 7 hours half life. Bitly’s results were based on examining the half life of 1,000 popular links shared from Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

“In general, the half life of a bitly link is about 3 hours,” said Hilary Mason, chief scientist at bitly. “Many links last a lot less than two hours; other sticky links last longer than 11 hours over all referrers. This leads us to believe that the lifespan of your link is connected more to what content it points to than on where you post it.” The key, of course, isn’t to depend too much on any single share. Good content is shared dozens…hundreds… thousands… of times by different people sharing unique links.

More shared links means more life for your blog post. My favorite tool for increasing the life of blog posts is When you join tribes on Triberr, your blog posts are promoted by everyone in the tribe. Everyone in your tribe tweets your post to their followers. And you do the same for everyone in your tribe. As a member of five tribes, I’ve added 57 shared links to each new blog post and increased my reach to more than 500,000 Twitter users. And, since Triberr spreads shared links for blogs posts over time, it leverage the half-life of each share independently.

It’s also a good idea for bloggers to leverage the sharing power of video content on YouTube. Not only do shared links from YouTube have a 2.5x longer half-life than shared Tweets or Facebook posts — videos also generate a higher volume of overall engagement. According to a recent study by Vitrue, video posts also receive 24 percent more engagement than text posts. The virtue study also indicated that posts shared on Friday generate the most engagement, while posts shared on Saturday or Sunday generate the least.
Recent columns by Troy Janisch
Troy Janisch, Publisher of Social Meteor, is a digital marketing professional and social media enthusiast. Troy leads the social media team at American Family Insurance, but don’t let that scare you. He rarely talks about insurance in mixed company [grin]. Like a good social media program, is all about content. It’s not a consulting company or marketing agency.

The opinions expressed herein or statements made in the above column are solely those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wisconsin Technology Network, LLC. WTN accepts no legal liability or responsibility for any claims made or opinions expressed herein.

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