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What’s your reach:exposure ratio?

No matter the size of your TweetReach report, the report’s reach to exposure ratio (R:E) can tell you a lot about the impact of your tweets. Whether you’ve measured 50 tweets or 50,000 tweets, you can use the ratio of reach to exposure to understand something about how those tweets have spread.

The reach:exposure ratio* represents the depth of penetration of tweets about a topic. A lower R:E suggests that people are seeing tweets about a topic over and over, while higher R:E numbers suggest broad but shallow penetration of that topic. However, a higher R:E does not always indicate success. Depending on the type of tweets you’re measuring and your goals with those tweets, bigger is not always better.

Low R:E = 0.0-0.19

A low reach:exposure number (anything 0.19 or lower) suggests a large percentage of contributors are tweeting multiple times about the hashtag or keyword you’ve measured, which means the message is limited in scope and is not spreading far beyond those people’s followers. A number of people are receiving many tweets about this term.

Low ratios are fine in many cases, however. For example, regional issues and local news events, conferences, and Twitter chats, parties and contests are likely to fall in this range. And that’s perfectly reasonable for these types of events; they’re relevant to a smaller or localized audience and that’s who will see it.

If you’re aiming for a larger or more diverse audience, then start thinking of ways to get tweets about your topic out to a wider audience. What can you do to encourage more (and different) people to tweet? You should also be concerned if your R:E ratio is below 0.05. That suggests that someone is tweeting a lot about your keyword, to the point of being spammy.

Average R:E = 0.2-0.59

An moderate or normal ratio will be anywhere between 0.2 and 0.59. This suggests a normal distribution of tweets, retweets, and amplification. In this case, some people are tweeting multiple times, some influencers are tweeting to lots of followers, and most people are tweeting once or twice to their smaller set of followers. Most people will receive 2-5 tweets about your message.

Many general brand mentions and large product launches or announcements (Verizon iPhone, Chevy Volt) will fall in this range. Larger media events with a wide, popular appeal (like the Academy Awards and Super Bowl) will fall in this range, as well.

High R:E = 0.6-0.99

The closer this reach:exposure number gets to 1, the more different contributors are represented in this report. Ratios of 0.6 or higher indicate that a wide variety of different people are tweeting to a number of diverse followers, spreading the message far and wide. Most people are not seeing more than one or two tweets about the hashtag or keyword. This is ideal if you want a large amplification of your message.

Twitter trends and popular hashtag memes (#LessAmbitiousMovies, #FollowFriday), significant national or international news events, and very big-name products and brands will fall in this range.

Depending on how many contributors and tweets you measured, high ratios could be somewhat misleading. If your report includes just a few hundred tweets and you have a R:E ratio of 0.8, then one or two people with large followings can account for a great deal of this ratio. The smaller the dataset, the larger the impact a few people can have on the R:E ratio.

You should also be concerned if this number is higher than 0.85 or so (which is incredibly rare). This indicates that most people only received one tweet about this message, which might not bode well for retention. How likely are people to remember something if they only read about it once? And if only one tweet about a topic is delivered to a person’s Twitter client, it’s very possible that person did not even see it at all.

*To calculate the reach:exposure ratio, the formula is reach divided by exposure. You should get a number between 0 and 1 (if it’s higher than 1, then you probably used exposure divided by reach). For example, a recent report reached 147,425 people and had an exposure of 763,506 impressions. The R:E ratio is 147,425 / 763,506 = 0.19.

Note: We’ve written up a comprehensive set of full report benchmarks if you want more info about other metrics besides R:E.

Photo credit: Loud Speaker by paparatti.


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