A new study by TubeMogul may indicate that followers on Twitter may be more beneficial to an organization or person than friends on Facebook. The study showed that on average, “audiences clicking on video links from Twitter watch a video 36.91% longer than viewers referred by Facebook and 49.98% longer than viewers referred by Digg.”
Now while the methodology was sound, we’re clearly making an inference on the Twitter vs. Facebook conclusion. What’s more, any decent social media campaign will include both. But it may suggest that because on Twitter we choose to follow interesting people, by definition we get more of the stuff we’re apt to want to see.
Consider this: on Twitter, people follow absolute strangers based on a mutual interest in subject matter. There’s no qualifications, little screening and not a big commitment on either side. And by it’s very nature, Twitter isn’t bombarding you with Mafia Wars updates or “I Just Took the ‘What Breakfast Food Am I Quiz’ notifications.
In contrast, Facebook friends are just that: friends. It could be a business associate or high school buddy. Once you friend someone, you get it all: videos of the kids fishing, declarations that they’re off for a soy latte, and (hopefully) decent content you may want to see.
So what we may be witnessing on Twitter is the development of eco-systems of people who self-select to be part of a loose confederation of ideas on specific subjects.
Therefore, it is IMPERATIVE that companies tighten the focus of their content before they Tweet any and every little thing. In short, don’t babble: speak clearly, intelligently and with purpose. And of course, don’t forget to listen.
A word of caution before thinking Facebook isn’t for you: this study was for all Facebook users, and did not distinguish between Friends (individuals) and Fans (company). My guess (or at least hope!) is that if one studied the video viewings for Fans separately, the rules of self-selection would yield more engaged results.
My shop is in the middle of launching Facebook pages for adidas, Sperry Top-Sider, Isis for Women and a few other brands that have the potential for enthusiastic followings. As we get more and more data, we’ll post some results to see if the Fan hypothesis is playing out.