We know that viewers love different kinds of content, with video being one of the more popular varieties. But does it matter where you go to share that content? This week, Bit.ly decided to talk about link half-life–how long links shared through their service tend to last based on their origination point. In this context, a Bit.ly link's half life is essentially equal to the time it takes that link to reach half the clicks it will accrue throughout its life. What did they find? YouTube links have a longer half-life than those for Twitter or Facebook.
Bit.ly appears to have started this analysis by asking a pretty big question: Is the audience's interest in a link related to where that link is published?
The average half-life for links shared on YouTube is a whopping 7.4 hours. To put that into a bit of perspective, the average Bit.ly link (regardless of source) has a half-life of around 3 hours. That means that the public interest level in the links shared on YouTube tends to last twice as long as interest in links shared on Facebook or Twitter.
That's just huge. But what does it mean in terms of actionable advice? Easy: share your links on YouTube, in the video description as well as in annotations on the video itself.
It's not any kind of indictment of the practice of sharing links on Facebook and Twitter. Those links still get plenty of clicks–this data isn't even about total clicks… but rather when in the link's life-cycle the clicks reach their peak. You could even conclude that this information means you should share individual links more than once on social platforms outside of YouTube.
It makes perfect sense, really. On Twitter, you share a link, and it pretty quickly makes its way down the page, as other people the consumer is following also Tweet. Same with sharing on the Facebook wall. Whereas with YouTube, the video–and the links–are just right there… always. No new content appears on the page over time to push it down below the fold.
So maybe some of your readers don't even see your links the first time you publish them on Twitter or Facebook? Maybe publishing the same link again at a future point in time might expose it to even more people? Of course, the loyal followers who do see and read what you post probably won't want to deal with tons of duplicate posts, so you wouldn't want to overdo it.
Again, this is general data. But clearly this analysis from Bit.ly just adds more evidence to the already-mountain-sized pile of evidence that all brands and small businesses should be exploring and experimenting with online video. You can't post links on YouTube, where they hold more interest, if you don't even have any videos or a YouTube channel.
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