Monday, 24 June 2013

The "Please RT" test

Following Mark Morton's  'A very unscientific test about using ‘Please RT’' we decided to conduct our own using our main Girlguiding Twitter account.

Mark's test involved sending out the same tweet at the same time on consecutive Tuesdays, adding "Please RT" to one of them. We sent out the same tweet at the same time on consecutive Fridays. The first at 3:15pm on June 7th:
And the second at 3:15pm on June 14th:
Both tweets generated six retweets, the earlier one (sans "Please RT") also picked up a favourite. I was disappointed with the level of retweets and favourites on both tweets,

We also measured click-throughs, and found that we had remarkably similar results on that front too.

What does this data tell us? Not very much I'm afraid:

  1. I should have chosen a subject that better matches the interests of our community on Twitter for the purpose of this test. 
  2. In this instance, the addition of "please RT" appeared to have little discernible impact, although there are many variables at play:
    1. Did including "please RT" on the second tweet rather than the first have an impact?
    2. Did people interested in the role choose not to RT?
    3. By the time the second tweet came around, had many people already advertised the posts via their Twitter accounts?
  3. The "Please RT" tweet appeared to have a longer half-life as far as clicks are concerned - Is this relevant?
It also raises more questions, such as:

  1. Would including "Please RT" at the start of the tweet result in a better response, due to the call to action being given more prominence?
  2. Would relevant hashtags such as #job, #thirdsectorjob, and #charityjob have helped, and if so, what would the difference have been?
Interestingly,  tweets from my personal account generated 54 clicks, not far off the number of clicks generated for each of the two examples above, despite the Girlguiding account having more than 13-times the number of followers I have on Twitter. This raises an interesting point about relevance of content. Whilst many of the people that follow the @Girlguiding Twitter account are passionate about guiding, many may not (for a variety of reasons) be interested in working with us. On the other hand, many of the people that I chat to on Twitter from my own account are Third-Sector professionals, some of which may be interested in a new job, and others that may know someone else looking for a job in the charity sector. I guess the lesson here is; "Know your audience".

I'll close, as Mark did, with a plea: Please do not stick "Please RT" on the end (or at the front) of every tweet. Marks sums up the reasons why

Have you conducted similar tests? What results have you seen?


  1. Fascinating stats, Paul. As you say, part of that 'know your audience' is their geographic location too. I would presume that the followers of @girlguiding are of a fairly level geographic spread across the UK, so perhaps less likely to be interested (and therefore RT) a message about jobs in London. However, by virtue of many charities being based in London, your personal Twitter followers are more likely to be based in the south-east, so more likely to be interested and RT something London-based. Would that be a fair assessment?

    If, at @epilepsyaction, we tweet something with a limited geographic appeal, we always try and stick the location at the start of the tweet. For example:

    "In Belfast? Join us for..."
    "In Leeds? We have a vacancy..."

    As people skim-read Twitter, I hope that a mention of their local town will leap out at them. And people who aren't in that part of the world can scroll straight past it. And especially not have that feeling of disappointment that a link that they were interested in actually isn't relevant to them as it's about a job in London or Penzance or the Outer Hebrides!

  2. Thanks for the comment Mark.

    You're right about the geographic spread, larger numbers in population centres, but generally a pretty even spread across the UK & NI. I think you're right about the relevance of my personal account too.

    I think including location info (as you've suggested) for future variations of this test could be quite interesting. It's not just where our followers are based, but where the followers of those followers are based too (People probably being more likely to retweet stuff that will be geographically relevant to their audience).

    Thanks Mark :)