Seomoz has developed a new metric that is arguably a better measure for a tweet’s effectiveness. The Prime of Life metric measures retweets on the assumption that retweets are the currency of the social network. While measuring clicks on tweeted links is valuable, it is measuring the viral spread of a tweet, the Prime of Life, that earns the most. The essay does acknowledge some issues with this new metric, but even if it is flawed it is still a valuable metric for the social media agency to measure.
The easy answer is that the Prime of Life for tweets is an average of 18 minutes. For half of the users sampled 18 minutes is how long it took for half of their tweets to be retweeted. An interesting result is the near uniformity of the Prime of Life regardless of follower count for the Twitter user. One thing that does make a difference is the frequency of tweets. The more a user tweets then the longer it takes to reach the Prime of Life. The social media agency already knows this lesson in the adage about saturating the communication market. It is still helpful to see data confirming the notion.
One final bit of interesting data is about the time of the tweet. Late night tweets are often lost in the feed by people the next day. But for those followers awake at the time of the tweet the engagement it spawns is very high. The metaphor is the person watching television at 3 AM is more responsive to non-infomercials than at other times of the day. These are all interesting lessons for the digital marketing firm that need to be vetted depending on the type of service being marketed.