The size of Twitter's user base (now more than 271 million monthly users) and the platform's global scale have encouraged many brands to manage a Twitter presence. But measuring the effectiveness of a company-owned Twitter account is difficult without a baseline to measure from-a baseline we're now pleased to present.

Today, we announce the Social Engagement Benchmark Report for Twitter, a first-of-its-kind report on benchmark Twitter metrics based on 3+ million tweets sent through the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud platform in 2013.

New Twitter Research: Average Engagement Metrics from 3+ Million Tweets
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The report reveals average replies and retweets per tweet, divided by

  • Day of week
  • Time of day
  • Month of the year

For the following industries:

  • Consumer packaged goods (CPG)
  • Media and entertainment
  • Financial services
  • Retail and e-commerce
  • Education and non-profit
  • Tech and manufacturing
  • Travel and hospitality

Several important insights from the report include:

  • Consumers gravitate towards tweets that include photos. Brands and companies tweet photos only 8% of the time, although tweets containing a photo generate considerably higher reply and retweet volumes than those without photos.
  • Follower numbers are trending up. In 2013, companies tracked an average 43% increase in Twitter followers, with four industries tracking percentages higher than the average: technology and manufacturing (93%), retail and e-commerce (75%), CPG (55%), and financial services (55%).
  • Few brands tweet on Sunday-the day with the highest engagement. During the work week, companies tweet the least frequently on Mondays and tweet more as the week goes on. Interestingly, companies aren't engaging followers much during weekends, although their followers continue to engage them.
  • The media and entertainment, financial services, and education and non-profit industries receive the most retweets per tweet (23.6, 17.1, and 15.3, respectively), while the most replies go to media and entertainment, retail and e-commerce, and education and non-profit (7.7, 3.0, and 2.8, respectively).
  • Prime times to reach consumers who follow financial services companies are from 12:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. (the period with the most replies and retweets to company tweets) and from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (the second- highest period for retweets).
  • Given retail brands' propensity for holiday marketing, it comes as no surprise that December sees the most tweets from retail brands, with the number of tweets steadily increasing from October through the end of the year. Consumers responded in December by nearly doubling the amount of replies.
  • We tracked 93% follower growth for technology and manufacturing brands over 2013, making this industry one of the fastest-growing on Twitter.

The infographic below includes a preview of what you'll discover in the full report. Download the complete Social Engagement Benchmark Report for Twitter to find actionable numbers to begin improving your Twitter marketing today.