Twitter Killed The Count Button

This past September, Twitter announced it was replacing its aging grey 3D share button with a snazzy modern blue one. Buried in that fine print also came a huge shift in how you as a publisher and brand measure shares of your content: Twitter is killing the share counts. Specifically, it was possible at a glance to see how your content was performing on Twitter by using the share button. But on November 20, the counter became empty.

Why did Twitter do this?

The count was founded on an undocumented workaround and is a huge resource on Twitter to support with their new API. But moreover, Twitter says that the count isn’t a true representation of the social activity on the tweet because it might not include additional re-tweets with a different URL or conversations outside that thread.

SimpleReach has always measured and reported tweet counts by taking into account the URL being shared and any other variant URLs to provide full visibility. Why didn’t Twitter implement a similar system years ago?


How does this affect content marketers?

Having the data to show how an article is performing on social channels is an important part of understanding your content ROI. Twitter is a huge part of the conversation, and having no insight into it means a major chunk is missing. “It’s meaningful to us,” says Slate’s vice chairman Dan Check. “Having share counts along comment counts is a strong way to underline that there’s a conversation around what [we’ve] written. We want to signal to readers that that conversation is happening.” 

Ironically, many have turned to Twitter to share their frustration with the hashtag #SaveOurShareButton.


How does this affect Twitter?

Writing for HuffPost, James Parsons says the count creates a “crowd effect”. So without it, he questions if people will be as interested in sharing content on Twitter over time. As a direct result, he says webmasters will be less inclined to include the official Twitter buttons on their sites, or remove it all together if they’re not getting any value from it. Afterall, a Twitter button without a count could be useless.


What are your options?

Twitter is suggesting publishers use Gnip, their data company they purchased last year. The price tag is rumoured to be heavy and something publishers haven’t budgeted toward or put into their workflow.

Based on our relationship with Twitter, SimpleReach customers will continue to have access to their Twitter data, alongside Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other channels. Learn more about how SimpleReach can help you.


About Tony

Tony looks after marketing at SimpleReach.

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