Last month, I attended the Science of Timing Webinar with HubSpot’s Dan Zarrella. I can’t remember being more excited for a webinar because it was an opportunity to compare HubSpot’s research on email marketing timing to my own. Our findings didn’t match, which is a topic for a different day, but the webinar did open my mind to a whole new area of research – the timing of tweets. Then today, I received an announcement that Sprout Social had added a scheduling assist feature which recommends times for users to schedule tweets based on collective consumer usage and reply patterns. Sprout Social claims that optimizing your tweet times can increase your exposure by as much as 400%. With this in mind, I thought it was worth a closer look at tweet times, and what may be good, better, and the best times for professional sports teams to tweet.
I will begin by sharing my Twitter-related notes from the Science of Timing webinar:
- Retweet activity is at its highest between 2-5 PM ET
- Twitter clickthrough rate is steady throughout the week, including weekends
- Twitter clickthrough rate by hour is steady throughout the day
Based on these findings, if your team’s objective is to maximize exposure, you may have a slight advantage by tweeting between the hours of 2-5 PM ET. However, if you are more interested in driving online traffic, it really doesn’t matter what day or at what time you tweet. This research is good, but there is no way a tweet advertising “20% off team merchandise for the next four hours only” is going to do as well at 2:30 AM on Sunday as it would at 2:30 PM Tuesday. It is better, then, to consider using Sprout Social’s recommended times from their consumer usage data. Sprout Social recommends the following six times to schedule tweets (all times Eastern):
- 9:00 AM
- 1:00 PM
- 4:00 PM
- 6:00 PM
- 8:00 PM
- 10:00 PM
As with almost any element of online marketing research, though, the truth is that it just depends. So what variables are unique to the world of professional sports? How do we know which research to use? It is impossible to know for sure what will work best for you without testing it out for yourself, but I can offer the best time to start looking at: Game Time.
A study from Nielsen and Yahoo! conducted late last year found that 86% of mobile Internet users do so while watching TV. There are also apps in development that will connect fans via social media while they watch their favorite teams. Some teams are already trying to lead these conversations by creating online chats during their telecasts. Have you ever searched for a hashtag containing your team’s name during a game that you couldn’t catch on TV? You are sure to find a steady stream of fellow fans filling you in on the action.
The best time for professional sports teams to tweet is during their games. This is a time when fans are already engaged with your brand. Why not drop your best Twitter offers when fans are actively searching for you and retweeting about you? Try it out…. and please let us know how it goes!