The following guest post is written by Julian Gottke, communications manager at quintly. The German-based social media analytics tool analyzes big data sets and publishes studies regularly on their blog. In their most recent social media study quintly analyzed 30k Twitter profiles and revealed some interesting findings on how Twitter is used. Here, Julian presents the most interesting findings and interprets.

In our Twitter study we analyzed 30k Twitter profiles in the first half of 2016 and compared this to 2015 to deliver even more meaningful outcomes. The analyzed data provides the reader with deep insights on how users interact with differently sized profiles. We took a look at the most important metrics starting with Twitter follower growth and then digging deeper into the analysis.

Follower growth slows down by 40%

Comparing the data of the first half of 2015 and 2016 it becomes clear that Twitter profiles grow slower than they used to do. As seen in the screenshot below, the follower growth slowed down and leveled off to 4%. This is crucial information for businesses active on Twitter as the growth of a network affects the goals being set. Knowing that follower growth for the average Twitter profile slowed down is important to note while setting goals and expectations. After we published our study some people saw this as an alarming sign for Twitter which is not the correct way to interpret a decreasing follower growth or decreasing interactions. For me this is a normal phenomenon while a network gets increasingly mature.

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Interaction Rate rises for nearly all profile sizes, except largest profiles

It is impressive to see growing interactions in all profile clusters beside the biggest profiles analyzed for a pretty much “grown up network”. Especially the smallest profiles (1-1,000 followers) seem to profit a lot from Twitter receiving significantly more interactions compared to the year before. Having said that, the other profile buckets were able to benefit from Twitter more than in the year before, too. This finding indicates that businesses of all sizes can profit from Twitter. In some profile clusters the amount of received interactions increased more than in others but overall every profile received more interactions on their content as  compared to one year ago. Just the biggest profiles analyzed experienced a massive drop in interactions. This finding indicates a change in how people interact with the most famous people in the world.

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In our Twitter study we took a closer look not only at the interaction rate (calculated: retweets, likes and replies divided by posts and followers) but also at the absolute number of interactions. Here it gets clear that interactions dropped by 58% in the biggest profile clusters. As mentioned, interactions consist of likes, retweets and replies. To be able to make a statement on how the usage exactly changed we analyzed the amount of retweets further.

Amount of retweets steadily declining

As described above we reported an increase of interactions in all profile clusters beside profiles with more than 10 million followers. To gain a deeper understanding of how users interact with profiles we observed retweets as part of the interactions in greater detail. The image visualizes the decline of retweets between the first half of 2015 and 2016.

There is a massive decline of retweets in our data set. The average profile receives significantly less likes than one year ago as people seem to be less likely to retweet. At the same time, this finding shows that likes and replies increased over the last year, as overall interaction increased as discussed before.


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