The social media summary of the world record attempt

UK trending for @tref & #comment24 on twitter The world record attempt started at 6am on Thursday 5th Feb and ended at 6am the following day. There are three stories to tell here. The first is the charity fundraising aspect that was covered on Friday.

Second is the social media story. This was an event largely promoted using the #comment24 hashtag on twitter but the story was also posted on Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. The effort also caught the imagination of a good number of friendly journalists as the list of names in the table of top referrers for 5th Jan illustrates.

referring site

# visits

pages/visit

time on site

1

t.co (Twitter)

2,012

2.73

00:04:08

2

facebook.com

903

4.44

00:04:56

3

gizmodo.co.uk

310

2.38

00:02:19

4

thinkbroadband.com

291

4.38

00:04:36

5

forums.moneysavingexpert.com

265

3.24

00:02:58

6

m.facebook.com

240

2.2

00:01:53

7

guardian.co.uk

233

3.07

00:03:50

8

thenextweb.com

221

2.83

00:02:47

9

telegraph.co.uk

207

3.6

00:04:47

10

hootsuite.com

67

2.88

00:04:10

11

community.plus.net

63

2.84

00:02:43

12

plus.url.google.com

59

4.05

00:05:45

13

linkedin.com

57

4.84

00:07:03

14

thelincolnite.co.uk

51

2.25

00:02:07

15

celticquicknews.co.uk

50

1.36

00:00:23

 

In all according to Google Analytics there were 162 referring sites over the 5th and 6th January. A Google search for tref & “world record” uncovers around 53,400 results so the overall exposure was much higher (a lot of duplicates in there probably but it gives you a feel for the scale of things). Google Analytics misses a lot of links in my experience.  Forums and blogs were good  contributors of links.

Most of these links would have been sourced originally via one of the social media platforms – an obvious guess and in order of importance would be Twitter, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn, the latter two being poor cousins.

The world record attempt did not therefore lack online web exposure.

WordPressWordpress used for world record attempt

From a WordPress technical perspective the event went without a problem. There was an initial glitch with the WordPress setup where the number of guest comments were limited to one every 15 seconds.  We caught this early thanks to feedback from the first commenters.

The blog was effectively “opened” up to comments with little in the way of protection from spam – Akismet was deactivated for the day (it’s back on now). This was a risk but was done to minimise any hurdles to commenting and to reduce load on the servers that might have been occasioned by filters such as Akismet or Captcha.  In reality the servers were massively overspecified for this event and would not have had a problem – this will be the subject of a tech blog in the very near future.

Interestingly the native WordPress anti-spam controls still caught spam – anything with more than one URL in the comment. Louis Vuitton handbags seemed to be the main area of interest that day!  I am not aware of any serious problems that arose from the ”opening up” for comments. If we were going to get the hoped for level of traffic it would have been the only way to cope.  As it is with the numbers we did get this would still have been the only sensible way to go.

Visitor Statistics

On the 5th jan we had 9,449 visits,  7,804 of which were “unique”. At its peak the blog was taking one comment every 8 seconds. At this time there were a significant number of active visitors at any one point in time – screenshot shows 162 but it was seen to go up to the 190s. 5,455 comments were left in the 24 hours (subject to final adjustment once I have verified the logs).

The comments were not from unique visitors ie someone could comment more than once if they chose, just as you would on a normal online news or blog post. The ratio of donors to comments and visitors 112/5,455/7,804 shows how difficult it is to raise cash.

The average time on site was, at 4:41 minutes, considerably more than the usual 90 seconds although 4 minutes is quite common for a popular/more detailed blog post. The 3.38 pages per visit is also up on the norm of just over 2. This could be due to the higher than usual number of new visitors (75%). The fact that 2,311 of the visitors were regulars to the site was gratifying – thanks for the support guys.

The number of visitors to the site seemed to be around twice as much as those leaving comments. After a few hours this made me cut down the size of the post. Perhaps it was too long – I had to fit in acknowledgements and an incentive for people to leave comments.

Incentive to comment

This incentive was a suggestion that people link to a person or organisation that has been inspirational to them and who will make a difference in 2012. In practice few people left such a comment. The charitable aspect was enough. Most comments were of the “good luck, hope it goes well” variety. So the “incentive” was pulled in the interest of shortening the post. I still intend to filter through and pick some good causes from those relevant comments.

The shortening of the post seemed to make little difference to the visitors/comments ratio. Anecdotal evidence suggests that some people were checking progress from more than one device – laptop, tablet and smart-phone and this no doubt accounts for some of visits that left without comment. See notes re mobile visitors below.

TweetReach

The TweetReach report for #comment24 suggested that it reached 1,129k people via 1,493 tweets. Exposure was 2,177,651 impressions with 257k people having seen 2-3 tweets, 55k people 4-7 tweets and a fairly impressive 20k people having seen 7 tweets or more. There were 475 retweets for #comment24.

tweeter

impressions

jeffpulver

428,934

JasonBradbury

306,338

suziperry

152,022

tref

139,632

cyberdoyle

90,536

Inspirationf

85,682

mikejulietbravo

82,604

mouthwaite

74,034

RNLI

49,080

Baskers

35,598

Hugs to Jeff (you have to know him to understand) and Suzie (I don’t know her but I’m sure you understand) and firm handshake to Jason for helping here (ok hug if you want). I know Jeff but I’m sure that the latter two get inundated with requests from UK fans for retweets so thanks again. It would be nice to understand how many people left comments as a result.

There were other “celebrity” tweets or tweets from influential sources that perhaps didn’t make the #comment24 report. Occasional references were left indicating reason for commenting/source of link.

Anyone commenting with a Twitter account was encouraged to sign in using this. We used the “Simple Twitter Connect” plug in for this. Tweets generated here did include #comment24. As the total number of referrals from Twitter exceeds the number of #comment24’s found by TweetReach then it is assumed that either not everyone arriving via Twitter left a comment, or they didn’t leave one everytime they arrived or they just signed using their email address.

The JustGiving site had a Twitter integration but this could not be tailored to incorporate the #comment24 hashgtag which would have been useful. Not everyone donating tweeted #comment24.

The fact that we were using a single Add To Any icon for “sharing” rather than individual Facebook/Twitter/G+/LinkedIn buttons was also mentioned as a non ideal set up – clearly one click is better than two. Something to look at.

Trending@tref & #comment24 trending in the UK

Both #comment24 (5th) and @tref (9th) trended in the UK during in the morning (fame at last!). By 11am #comment24 was 13th globally.

This was due to a concerted retweet effort on the part of a number of people (me included). We could probably have sustained this trend with continued tweeting but I personally throttled back as I didn’t want

to spam my followers too much.

#comment24 trended globallyA planned retweeting effort or retweeting from an account set up for the purpose would possibly have kept the trending going.

Mobile vs non mobile

I did get some very useful feedback re the set up of the blog for mobile. First of all the experience for mobile users wanting to leave comments was not good. One of my jobs in 2012 is to identify a suitable mobile plug in to address this.

The split between mobile and non mobile visitors is shown below

Mobile Visits Pages/Visit

Avg. Time on Site

1

No

7,295

3.72

00:05:26

2

Yes

2,154

2.24

00:02:09

The need to improve the mobile interface might account for a significant portion of the people visiting but not leaving a comment. It might also help with average time on site.

The vendor split is as follows:

Apple

1533

Unknown

176

HTC

176

Samsung

111

SonyEricsson

65

RIM

22

Nokia

19

 

This is interesting. The mobile social media/charitable types in the UK are clearly Apple fanbois. Moreover RIM and Nokia are almost on the list out of “politeness”. 70 different mobile device types were used in total.

495 of the Apple visits were from iPads with iPhone on 992 and iPod touch a creditable 46. 69 of the Samsungs were Galaxy S2 and the Desire HD was top of the HTC charts with 74.

84% of mobile visitors were new visits suggesting that people were following progress for the first time using their mobiles having commented by other methods.

Browsers

25 browsers were used in total – the top 6 covers most of them.

Browser

Visits

1

 Chrome

2,916

30.86%

2

 Firefox

1,957

20.71%

3

 Internet Explorer

1,859

19.67%

4

 Mozilla Compatible Agent

1,263

13.37%

5

 Safari

871

9.22%

6

 Android Browser

434

4.59%

7

 Opera

50

0.53%

8

 Opera Mini

27

0.29%

9

 BlackBerry9700

13

0.14%

10

 IE with Chrome Frame

12

0.13%

It would seem Google owns a third of this market.

Operating System

OS

Visits

1

 Windows

5,616

59.43%

2

 Macintosh

1,365

14.45%

3

 iPhone

994

10.52%

4

 iPad

495

5.24%

5

 Android

456

4.83%

6

 Linux

290

3.07%

7

 BlackBerry

97

1.03%

8

 iPod

66

0.70%

9

 Windows Phone

26

0.28%

10

 (not set)

16

0.17%

Symbian came in with 12 visits and quaintly the Sony Playstation 3 vied with “Nokia” (?) to be last with one visit each. I like the Playstation idea – play games and help charity. Microsoft has a long way to go in the mobile OS market.

Visitors by country

Geographic distribution of visitors

Country

Visitors

UK

8,130

86%

USA

425

4%

Italy

105

1%

Ireland

74

1%

Netherlands

56

1%

Other

669

7%

This was mostly a UK based activity. To have a convincing stab at a big record we would have liked a far higher participation from the Americas although the RNLI is of course a UK based charity. Existing media relationships were with predominantly UK based platforms.

We were hoping that the world record attempt would be sufficient news to entice US bloggers to comment and thus generate more noise.

The fact that many people were preparing for the Consumer Electronics Show in ‘Vegas probably didn’t help. Neither did the initial slow uptake of comments. It took 6 hours to make it to the first 1,000 comments and 3 hours to the second. Had the USA woken up to a slightly higher level this might have attracted comment and attention. So would the involvement from the start of people with big twitter followings and blog readership.

All in all as have been described here there were a few learnings from this exercise, not the least of which is that it helps to have famous people onboard and to have a team of people working for the cause.

There is one more post to write which is the technical analysis of the performance of the platform running in the new datacentre.

Published by Trefor Davies

Liver of life, father of four, CTO of trefor.net, writer, poet, philosopherontap.com

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