Knowing when to post content to the Web can feel like a black art. It's always procrastination time somewhere. But understanding one's audience can yield simple and scientific insights about the best times to reach it. Balancing work and scheduling is still a lot of work, though, so Web services have cropped up to handle that effort algorithmically, letting publishers concentrate on publishing.
Buffer, a service that stacks up one's tweets and publishes them at the best times for engagement, has analyzed its user data and found some promising results. Buffer's developers report that clicks on tweeted links increased by 200% on average after two weeks of using the scheduling app, and retweets doubled.
Buffer examined a sample of 2,000 users over six weeks of Twitter usage, three before joining Buffer and three after. The study only looked at users who had tweeted at least 20 links with Buffer and 20 links before joining to ensure they were measuring link performance for active Twitter users. Co-founder Leo Widrich says a Buffer developer queried the Twitter and Bit.ly APIs for click information for users before they joined Buffer. They compared an "on-tweet average" number of clicks on Bit.ly links prior to joining Buffer with the average clicks after.
Buffer handles tweet scheduling automatically, using its data to determine the best time to publish for the user's audience. Other research has shown stark patterns in the daily routines of Web users, and services like Buffer and SocialFlow exist to handle these patterns on the publisher's behalf. Manual tweet scheduling is an option on many Twitter clients and other third-party services, but outsourcing the effort of timing posts is not a bad option when detailed, audience-specific data are not available.
How do you time your tweets, posts or other Web publishing activities?