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Texas Christian University: The relationship between social media and audience engagement

Students at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth’s student newspaper, TCU360, wanted to know if incorporating multimedia into posts would influence reader experience or engaged time. They used Parse.ly to look at text-only posts, posts with photos, posts with videos, and posts with embedded tweets. Across each post type, they measured readers’ average engaged time time per view, as well as the percentage of new visitors to each post.

Is there a relationship between the type of multimedia content in each article and its performance?

Across all TCU360 posts, readers spend an average of 0.81 minutes engaged with a single post. Multimedia posts outperformed this site average across the board:

  • Photo posts: 0.9 minutes
  • Text-only posts: 0.99 minutes
  • Video posts: 1.04 minutes
  • Posts with embedded tweets: 1.27 minutes

Regardless of the post length, readers spend more time with stories that have embedded tweets.

Do certain multimedia elements increase TCU360’s exposure to new visitors?

Text-only and video content maintain a more than 20 percent returning visitor rate. The returning visitor rate for posts that include photos or embedded tweets is more than 10 percent.

Articles with embedded photos and tweets attract the most views and new visitors -- typically from outside the TCU360 community. Text-only articles attract even fewer new visitors, but maintain a loyal viewership.

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