Sunday, March 01, 2009

Are Twitter members more likely to comment on blogs?

As we know, I obsess over my blog's traffic. I've kept a close eye on the traffic that Twitter sends here for a while, and I've noticed that it's been growing every month since last September. I've also noticed that there seem to be more comments here in the past few months, and my guess is that as more traffic is coming from Twitter, that more of those people are commenting.

So I decided to dig in and see if the stats supported this theory.

Here's the traffic that Twitter sent to my blog for each month since September, and the average number of comments per post I had for each month(in parantheses):

September - 162 (10)
October - 342 (7.6)
November - 554 (7.5)
December - 1,079 (14.7)
January - 1,349 (11.8)
February - 1,377 (13.2)

Now when I first looked at these numbers, I wasn't that impressed. If you look from September to February, traffic from Twitter has increased about 800%, but comments per post only increased by about 30%.

But then I remembered that the avg comments per post figures include the Top 25 posts. This is important to note for two reasons: 1 - The Top 25 posts get far fewer comments than the rest of the blog (around 4 comments per post, compared to 11 per post for all of the blog), and 2 - I rarely promote new Top 25 posts on Twitter, while I do promote almost all of the remaining posts there.

So I decided to remove the Top 25 posts and comments from the totals, and see what the stats looked like then:

September - 162 (8.7)
October - 342 (9.7)
November - 554 (9.9)
December - 1,079 (18)
January - 1,349 (14.5)
February - 1,377 (15.5)

Now you see traffic from Twitter is up about 800% since September, and avg comments per post have almost doubled.

Is all this enough to suggest that Twitter members that come here are more likely to comment than other visitors? I'm not sure, avg comments per post is definitely increasing, but referral traffic from Twitter is increasing at a much faster rate.

What have you noticed from your blog's traffic? Does it seem that people coming from Twitter are more likely to comment on your posts?


Anonymous said...

I agree that twitter may drive followers to your blog (that's why I'm here), but I'm not sure that directly leads to comments. I had one post last week that was retweeted several times, but never garnered a single comment. I think a RT is a sign of approval in and of itself, and may serve as a proxy comment (which is why tweetbacks are a good idea)

Mack Collier said...

Andrea did you notice people discussing your post on Twitter? I'm sure that some people comment on the post on Twitter instead of coming to the blog and commenting.

How big of a factor that is on overall blog comments? Hard to say, it likely leads to fewer comments. Then again, in some cases if everyone starts commenting on a post on Twitter, that could tempt more people to check out the post and comment there.

adrian chan said...

Twitter users are not all the same, and because twitter is more "chatty" doesnt mean its users are more likely to comment.

Commenting belongs to blogging, and as Andrea here notes, the natural comment form on twitter is the RT.

That said there's no room to comment in a RT. It's really just a citation.

So there may be people who wish to add a more substantive comment, and come here to do so.

But who are aware that it may be seen by your audience, get them some attention, and then serve their own purposes -- as well as yours.

Such is the economy of attention and reputation on twitter.

Steven Woods said...

it's an interesting analysis, and definitely a good thought. I recently used pretty much an identical (although inverted) argument to talk to some CFO types about the relevance of Twitter (see Essentially, I looked at the opposite, the population of Twitter. A significant majority of the active Twitter population has a blog, and given that links and comments are a blogger's currency, the likelihood of a Twitter user to comment on a blog is significantly higher.

adrian chan said...


I disagree, in a friendly way. Many bloggers here use twitter as a side channel for talk, chat, connecting, and so on, away from their blogs and closer to their friends.

In fact in some circles it's uncool to announce a blog post on twitter -- considered unnecessary and self-promotional.

Furthermore, a lot of activity in twitter stays in twitter. Those who click to a blog may be clicking so that they dont miss out on something. But very few of them will then want to read/comment. They return to twitter, which belongs to their stream of activity, not the blogger's.

Some small number, as a way of making an introduction over the blog that cant be made well in twitter, will comment.

And some will comment to be seen having commented.

But because the community of bloggers uses twitter isn't an argument that they are more likely to comment: I think twitter and blogging/commenting are very different activities.

my two cents, but I spend a lot of time on this and haven't seen that connection made.

daltonsbriefs said...

Speaking only for myself, I tend to comment on blog posts I find in twitter conversations more than any others. These days even more than posts I find on my RSS reader.

flicka47 said...

I came over this pm because of a link on twitter.

I try to read as many links there as I can get to,but there ends up being so many that unless I really feel I can add to the conversation,I don't because I end up hours behind the flow on twitter.Too many interestson my part,and for the most part the blogger ends up being much more concise and on topic than I can be. Also at some blogs,new commenters get pretty much ignored,and then don't want to comment anymore,even if they come regularly to read.

Iusually will retweet the good ones and sometimes add commentary at twitter rather than the blog.

I also will normally read the links at the blog and then if they are of interest will tweet them also.
Hope that is some help.

Sally_K said...

Hi, On a smaller scale I've found that my blog has gotten more traffic and more comments from Twitter.

Anonymous said...


Twitter is definitely driving traffic and comments to my blog. Both stats have gone thru the roof in recent months as my Twitter use has grown.

One particular post was almost exclusively Twitter fuelled and that really made it clear to me

I think we are all more on the same page....or frustrated by 160 characters and looking for more writing space.

See you at SXSW

Unknown said...

Good article! I LOVE getting comments on my blog, and I have decided that a lack of comments doesn't necessarily mean the post is uninteresting, but usually just that it isn't provocative.

Any other pointers on getting more comments?