Friday, September 09, 2011

Mayflies Live on the Internet

How long does a link last?

It turns out that new links published in social media have a similar life span to the Blue Wing Olive.  Links receive half the clicks they'll ever get within hours.

An adult mayfly lives for 30 minutes to a day depending on species; have non-working mouths and a digestive track filled with air.  They have one purpose..... but this is a marketing blog. 


NYT recently highlighted some research on the window of time during which clicks occur for a new link posted in various places.  Here's the chart....

For Twitter and Facebook half the clicks will happen in around 3 hours (left peaks) ; for YouTube it is 7 hours (middle bump).  

At a Social Commerce Exchange meeting yesterday @DrewConrad presented some figures of what he has found at Zagg.   The first five hour figures of their  12 Days of Christmas and iPad-a-Day promotions confirm this type of trend - 35-40% of the new fans came in the first week of the six weeks reported.  

So, what do I take the implications of this to is like fly fishing. 
  1. We need to be constantly coming up with ways to produce interest - meetings and approval should be kept to an absolute minimum.  If a fly isn't working, I change it - if a link doesn't produce in a day, put out a new one.    If does work, put it someplace else. 
  2. The attention span impacts the lifespan - YouTubers are likely more captivated by the surrounding content and not the flow itself.   I need to make more of an impact in fast moving water so will use an attractor - the streaming nature of Twitter and Facebook suggest the same need for stimulating, high impact links.   In calm water, where there is more dwell time I'll use a more natural fly - something similar might work in YouTube.
  3. Analysis time period of a link is daily; analysis of campaigns is longer, but done in the aggregate.  Looking at one link over a long period of time doesn't make sense.   Success at fishing is measured over the long term, not an individual cast.   
We've always known links work - we get the reports, but this suggests we have to think about constantly changing them up to create a continuous sense of interest.  This is very different than the traditional view of brand marketing which tries to get at the sustainable, long term essence.  

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