The content you publish becomes stale and less relevant to your audience as time passes. As a marketer, you might be asking how long content “lives” in social media. The problem is that the answer to the question is not, and will never be, a clear-cut average. There are simply too many factors that influences a post’s lifespan, making it too complicated to measure. This fact is in addition to the billions of social media users you need to adequately sample in order to have a valid statistical representation of content lifespans.

However, two tech companies, Mamsys and Wisemetrics, claimed to have conducted a survey in 2018 and 2015 respectively, which they say reveals the lifespan of content published for each social media platform. They released their results in the form of an infographic. While many online marketing websites adopted their figures and graphics, no one seems to have bothered to look deeper into these figures and simply accepted them at face value. Let’s take a closer look.

Questionable Lifespans

In 2015, Wisemetrics claimed to have found that Twitter posts remain engaging for about three hours, while Mamsys said last year that it was only 18 minutes. Since these two companies did not reveal the way they conducted their surveys, there is no way to prove or disprove their figures. More so, it’s difficult to conclude that the lifespan of Twitter posts have decreased, much less to find out why this is the case. Ideally, Wisemetrics should provide annual updates, but understandably, the complexity of measuring content lifespans makes that effort too costly and too Herculean.

Even without Mamsys’ and Wisemetrics’ figures, what is certain is that lifespans vary from post to post and from platform to platform. What can trend today may no longer trend the next second–that is how fast the public’s attention spans and interests can shift online. Additionally, there are many, so many topics, brands, and events competing for their attention, making content lifespans difficult to establish.

What About Posting Frequency?

Let’s assume for a moment that Wisemetrics’ and Mamsys’ figures are real. But because of the reasons previously mentioned, it’s still impossible to use their figures as some sort of solid numbers that can tell you how often you should post on social media. However, web development expert Orbitmedia offers anecdotal data from their survey of bloggers which suggests that the more frequently you post, the more people you will likely engage. These results are a no-brainer given that you have to contend with a host of other factors in your effort to capture your audience’s interest and retain their motivation. But ultimately, the frequency and longevity of your posts would depend on your target audience’s interests and preferences and how external events beyond your control influence these attitudes.

Measuring Your Content’s Lifespan Instead

No figures can give a “one-size fits all” description of how long your content lasts as that depends on the kind of audience you want to reach. Therefore, don’t fool yourself into believing the information spreading around that claims to establish content lifespans. Instead of sticking to the fixed figures that Wisemetrics and Mamsys claim, what you can do is to gather data on the behavior of your social media content followers and target audience.

You can use your previous social media analytics to see which previous posts are still popular and find out what makes these posts remain relatively timeless. Compare these posts to your other content. Chances are that you’ll see that single-issue topics don’t last as long as those that tackle issues or describe information that remains timely or becomes relevant when you didn’t expect it to be. That doesn’t mean you should always stick to “timeless” content; you need to use a combination of timeless and timely content to expand your reach.

Focusing On What Should Matter: Relevance

At the end of the day, it is your content’s relevance with your audience and not you or any fixed figure which will determine how long your content will last and how frequently you should post. Even if you post every second, if none of the content is relevant to your audience’s interests, they will not last a moment on their screens.

If you need help with your digital marketing, AO Marketing is your best option. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help.