How to work around Twitter’s search limitations

One of the biggest challenges we face with TweetReach is the 1500-tweet, 5-day restriction on Twitter search results.

We completely understand why this limitation exists; it’s both difficult and expensive for Twitter to keep billions of tweets accessible in their Search API. But we also know how hard and frustrating it is for you to explain to your clients that we can’t include older tweets in reports. It’s unfortunate, but that’s just the way it is – tweets more than a week old are simply not available for us to access for a TweetReach report, whether it’s a free report or a full report. After seven days, those tweets are gone.

So, what can you do?

Plan ahead.

Whenever you can, create your monitoring and measurement plan early. Set up a TweetReach Tracker before you start a campaign so that we get all the data you’ll need. A Tracker finds all tweets about a term in real time, as they are posted to Twitter, and then stores them on TweetReach servers for analysis. This allows us to track tweets over periods of weeks, even months, and there’s no 1500-tweet limit. You can then analyze the tweets whenever you want, and you don’t have to worry about them disappearing in a week. The Tracker can only find new tweets, though, so make sure you set one up before your campaign starts. Even the Tracker can’t go back and find old tweets.

And if you need help setting up your Tracker’s search query, let us know! We have lots of experience with disambiguation and data cleaning, so let us help you get exactly the data you want.

Capture the data while you can.

Our one-time snapshot reports are essentially a historical analysis of the most recent 1500 tweets about a term from the past week. Since tweets are gone from search results after a week, make sure you run snapshot reports while the data is still available. Even if you’re not sure if you’ll need it, wouldn’t you rather be prepared? So run a report right now. Get the data while it’s still there.

And in cases of unexpected or crisis situations where you weren’t able to set up a Tracker preemptively, then set one up as soon as you can. You’ll want this information later, and it’s better to have some tweets than no tweets.

Maybe someday this won’t be an issue. But for now, the best thing you can do is be prepared and proactive. Set up your Trackers early and run reports as soon as you can. And if you ever have a question or need help getting your queries right, just ask us. We’re here to help.

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