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All posts by Dan Zarrella

Dan Zarrella
Dan Zarrella is an award-winning social, search, and viral marketing scientist at HubSpot and author of two O’Reilly Media books: “The Social Media Marketing Book” and The Facebook Marketing Book. He has a background in web development and combines his programming capabilities with a passion for social marketing to study social media behavior from a data-backed position and teach marketers scientifically grounded best practices.
  • More than filters: the science of Instagram [Infographic]

    When I’m speaking at a conference, one of the most common questions I’m asked is what do I think the future of social media is. I’m not great at distant future predicting, but I do believe the story of the present and near-future of social media is visual content. From the impact of images and video on Facebook and Twitter to the new crop of media-centric social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, it’s clear that inbound marketers need to be turning out great visual content. I recently spent some time collecting a large Instagram database and analyzing it to identify...

  • How has the effectiveness of different kinds of Facebook post changed in the past 3.5 years?

    Using a database of 11.4 million posts published by just over 24,000 of the most liked Facebook pages, dating back to 2010 and earlier, I was able to analyse the performance (in terms of likes) of the four most common post types: Photo, Video, Link, and Status (text only posts) over three and a half years. My earlier research showing that Photo posts typically receive the most likes was confirmed by this newer, larger study, but I also found a few other interesting trends. Simple text-based posts have been on a decline since early 2012 and the Video type has...

  • Want more retweets? Use images [Infographic]

    If you're looking for a load of retweets, something which will inevitably help push your Twitter handle out there, then you should probably start sending out a lot more images. I collected a dataset of more than 400 000 randomly selected tweets and the number of times each tweet received a “new school” (native) retweet. I then compared four of the most popular ways to send images to Twitter: Facebook image links (images hosted on Facebook’s CDN, fbcdn-sphotos-h-a.akamaihd.net), Instagram, Twitpic and Twitter’s own, native image uploading service (shown in tweets as pic.Twitter.com). Tweets with images uploaded to pic.Twitter.com were nearly...

  • Social calls to action might not be cool, but they work [Infographic]

    People in traditional marketing and sales teams have known for years and years that if you want someone to take a specific action, you have to actually ask them to take that action. But for some reason when we made the shift to social media, it suddenly became “uncool” to use calls-to-action. I’ve conducted research into social calls-to-action across multiple channels for the past few years and found that in every place I’ve looked they produce increased action rates. Below is an infographic that sums up my data on social calls-to-action. This article by Dan Zarella originally appeared on Danzarella.com and...

  • Want more likes and comments on Tumblr? Here’s how to get them

    Another social network that has become very popular in the past few years but is marked by a lack of marketing data is Tumblr. It’s a fertile petri dish for some of the web’s most contagious content and has a fascinatingly wide demographic profile. And with the added buzz it’s getting from the much-talked about Yahoo acquisition, social media professionals should not ignore it. Gnip gave me access to the Tumblr firehose a little while back and I used it to collect a random sample of more than 300 000 posts. I analyzed that dataset and found several points of...

  • Want retweets? Here are the 7 most powerful calls to action

    I’m a big fan of social calls-to-action. Previously, I’ve found evidence that they work on Facebook and Twitter. So I wanted to expand my research and see if I could find more words and phrases that were good at spurring people to social action. Using a huge data set of more than 2.7-million tweets provided to me by the awesome folks at Buffer, I analysed the use of calls-to-action (like “please retweet”) and their relationship to retweets. To control for number of followers, I used a retweets-per-follower ratio. I found that there are seven words and phrases that when included in...

  • Winning at Instagram is all about hashtags [Infographic]

    One of the quickest growing social media platforms on the web at the moment is Instagram, but there’s a lack of marketing data about it. I decided to collect data on just over 1 million images posted to the site and found several interesting takeaways. The first, which you’ll find in the infographic below, is the importance of hashtags. Not only do images that include hashtags get more likes than images that do not, there are certain hashtags that are correlated with more likes than the rest. The most powerful of these are a set of reciprocity indicating tags including...

  • Turns out email subscription popups really do work

    I’ve had several conversations about the email subscription popups new visitors to sites are likely to see. Many of the most experienced people in the business are in favour of them. The results are also focused are in their favour, but there are some “marketing gurus” who are very vocal in their opposition. Never one to leave a debate like this to gut feeling and guesswork, I decided to actually look at my own stats to see what story they had to tell. These stats are from a single data point. Your site may be different, you should experiment with...

  • How you can use Twitter to map people’s emotions

    There are all sorts of tools out there for measuring social media sentiment. They're incredibly useful to brands and journalists alike. But what if you could use Twitter to map people's emotions geographically? Surely that would be even more useful A few weeks ago, I spoke at a federal agency conference in Arlington, Viriginia and one of the most interesting topics was the potential use of social media, by intelligence agencies, to map out and predict social unrest. So I decided to start experimenting with the concept on my own. By combining the linguistic analysis systems of TweetPsych with Twitter’s...

  • How to get more pins and repins on Pinterest [Infographic]

    Data about Pinterest is sparse because it's been slow to release its API, but I was able to utilise search engine APIs to pull some data about the trendy new social site. I gathered information on over 11 000 pinned images and did some analysis to create the infographic below. This data should be useful for Pinterest users who’d like to get more repins on the images they’ve pinned, as well as content...

  • The ‘science’ of Christmas online

    Science makes everything better. Seriously, it’s a proven fact. So of course I did some analysis about Christmas and found some surprising insights. Don’t get fooled by the unicorns-and-rainbows myths about the holidays anymore. Here’s the science. The figures compiled here are the most authoritative view you'll get on the social influence of reindeer, gift buying and just how which social networks you're on affect where you'll be placed on Santa's "naughty...

  • 10 words and phrases that can help or harm your Twitter click through rate

    After compiling a dataset of more than 200 000 link-containing tweets to generate a Click Through Rate (CTR) heatmap, I decided to dig into what words, phrases and characters correlate with higher (or lower) CTR. Below are my findings. And yes, I know correlation isn’t causation, but to quote Edward Tufte: "It sure is a hint." The first "word" I analysed was the hashtag. I found that there is very little difference...

  • 20 of the most (and least) connected words on LinkedIn

    I’ve studied data from a variety of social media platforms, but never LinkedIn. So a few days ago I got around to playing with it a little bit and found a few interesting things. First, I looked at the words in the title and summary of more than 40 000 randomly selected profiles and how they correlated with the number of connections those profiles have. I found that there are a handful of...

  • 5 scientifically proven ways to get more retweets on Twitter [Infographic]

    Over the years, I've done a ton of research on retweets. I've found five specific points that are the most powerful ways to get more retweets, so I rolled them up into one simple infographic. If you're curious where this data came from, check out the two links in the first paragraph, which explain the research surrounding the science of retweets.

  • Data: Tweet lots of links to get followers

    As I've said before, "if you’ve seen me speaking, or read my stuff, you may know that one of my favourite past times is busting social media marketing myths, and one of my favourite examples of 'unicorns and rainbows' advice is 'engage in the conversation'". My effort to analytically study the unicorns-and-rainbows myth of “engaging in the conversation” started by looking at the relationship between the number of followers a user has and the percentage of their Tweets that are “@” replies. I found that highly followed users are less conversational than those with few followers. This time, I looked...