The Internet hoards are fickle, easily distractible masses – just look at the proliferation of Lolcats and the whole Rickroll phenomenon. We’re not passing judgment – who doesn’t like a well-played Rickroll? – we’re just saying. Turns out, the popular link shortening site bit.ly thinks the same thing, only they have numbers to back it up. That awesome link you posted on Twitter? It’ll see most of its clicks in less time than it takes to watch a Peter Jackson movie.
pointed us to
a bit.ly blog post from earlier this week
. Yeah, we’re late to the party, but we didn’t even know bit.ly had a blog, to be honest. The team tracked the click-life of 1,000 popular bit.ly links posted across several of the top social networks. They were looking for the links’ “half-life,” which bit.ly defined as “the amount of time at which this link will receive half of the clicks it will ever receive after it’s reached its peak.”
The results were startlingly similar; the average link shared on Twitter sees its half-life arrive in just 2.8 hours, while a Facebook link draws eyes for a little while longer, at 3.2 hours. A direct share – i.e. via email or IM – lasts 3.4 hours. On average, a bit.ly links captures the Web’s attention for about three hours.
One service bucks that figure, however, and maintains link traffic for a full seven hours after posting – more than twice the time of those other guys. If you want a crowd of folks clicking on your links for the longest time possible, you’ll want to whip up a YouTube account.