Photos on Twitter impact the number of RTs and Favs

You no longer have to click on a link to see a picture or video on Twitter. On 29th October Twitter became more visual. Since then your stream and timelines of profiles are filled with photos from and videos from Vine. In order to check whether the fact of including a link, a video or a picture has an impact on the number of retweets and favourites of a tweet, Sotrender analyzed the 500 most followed brand profiles on Twitter. We found that tweets with photos get more favs and retweets than these without!

We’ve read two most popular analyses of the impact of the introduction of photos on Twitter and retweet rates. Buffer analysed its own profile – this approach doesn’t give us any general hints, because it is limited to one specific profile. Another analysis was conducted by Dan Zarella. He analysed almost half million random tweets to answer the question what to do to maximize to chance to get any retweets at all.



We would like to go further. In this article we will focus on the top 500 most followed brand profiles and analyse not only the fact of getting retweets, but also their number and the number of favourites to give you more comprehensive insight.

Copyright Troy Holden (@troy) for Twitter, Inc.

Copyright Troy Holden (@troy) for Twitter, Inc.

As we want our efforts to be useful for brands and content managers of profiles on Twitter, we have taken into consideration only the top 500 brand profiles with the highest number of followers. Among them there were Coca-Cola, BlackBerry, McDonald’s, Sony, Adidas Running, KFC and many others. The analysis covers the period between 8th October and 19th November 2013. We analysed only regular tweets of brands leaving out the tweets that actualy were retweets or replies. This brought us the total number of 60 472 tweets.

We specified 5 kinds of content in tweets:

  1. photos that were uploaded on,
  2. videos on Vine (both of them are visible in timeline),
  3. content from,
  4. Instagram links
  5. Facebook links.

As there were only a15 tweets with links to Facebook images, we decided to check whether any link to Facebook impacts retweet and favs rate.

We wanted our analysis to be comparable as well for profiles with many followers as for these with a few followers. We normalized the number of collected retweets to the average number of retweets triggered by profiles tweets. This mean that all the numbers are adjusted to the situation in which average tweet gets 100 RTs and 100 favourites.

Photos on Twitter and their influence

We found that tweets with photos from get 109 retweets more than those without. Our regression analysis also proved that changes introduced by Twitter contributed to this – 35 of these retweets are the effect of photos preview in timeline. In case of favourites tweets get 147 more of them (33 due to preview).

Photos on Twitter -How using in tweets impacts the retweet and favourites rate

Photos on Twitter – How using in tweets impacts the retweet and favourites rate

Tweets with Vine videos or Twitpic content appear to be statistically insignificant, which means that they do not  have influence on retweet rate nor favourite rate. However, we also found that including Facebook or Instagram links results in respectively 20 and 55 fewer RTs. In case of favourites results are almost exactly te same.

Tweets with Facebook links trigger 19% less retweets than those without

Tweets with Facebook links trigger 19% fewer retweets than those without

Tweets with Instagram links trigger 52% retweets less than those without

Tweets with Instagram links trigger 52% retweets fewer than those without

We started with conducting the linear regression analysis on all tweets. We took into consideration mentioned factors as well as the factor of time as Twitter gets more and more popular. The model proved that all of these results concerning photos on Twitter have statistical confidence of over 99, 9%.


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