Alex Steer

Better communication through data / about / archive

Why is no-one talking about reach on Twitter?

217 words | ~1 min

I spend a lot of time working with clients to help them understand and apply social media metrics. I've noticed that over the last year the general state of knowledge about metrics, and how to use them, has risen sharply. But there's one question that almost no-one is able to answer.

How many people did my tweets reach?

It bothers me that nobody is talking about this, as Twitter heads for its IPO. Because there is no way of measuring the reach of a tweet - at least, not a normal, non-promoted tweet.

Every piece of evidence I've seen, and every rule-of-thumb calculation I do, suggests that the reach of a tweet is terrifyingly low. And all the metrics that people bandy about - e.g. 'your total followers, plus the total followers of anyone who retweets your tweet' - are transparently nonsense.

Despite all the social media snake-oil that gets passed round, reach is the fundamental metric for measuring the ROI of social media marketing activity. It's the basis by which you judge all your performance ratios, and from which you calculate whether or not you're just wasting your time.

So why is nobody bothered by this?

# Alex Steer (06/11/2013)