As you may have already found out or experienced on your site, Twitter share counts are no longer updating on the share buttons starting with the 20th of November this year. This means that all share buttons out there that relied on the Twitter share count endpoint are no longer providing share counts. This includes Twitter’s own official tweet button. Basically, Twitter seems to be de-emphasizing one of its defining metrics: the share counts. The impact the big social network’s decision has on the digital marketing world and therefore the consequences that reflects on all our websites cannot be overlooked.
And as the saying goes ” get mad and then get over it” (and start do something about it, we may add), we at cognitiveSEO began looking for an efficient solution to this matter. We believe that Twitter’s share counts are highly important for every webmaster or digital marketer who wants to know what happens to his/her website and therefore the business is working for. As a result, we started to do what we know best: put or minds, determination and cups of coffee together in order to find the best solution to get the Twitter share counts back.
We launched TwitCount.com the Twitter Share Counts Alternative!
Why Did Twitter Decide to Get Rid of the Share Counts?
The real reasons why Twitter decided to give up offering share counts info may not be accessible to us. What we do have access to is their official announcement where they are giving some explanation for the deprecation of the Tweet count feature and also the announcement of a new design for the Tweet and follow buttons. As Twitter’s blog post title says, this is a hard decisions for a sustainable platform, letting us the impression that the online social network took this decision based on some technical and financial reasons.
The explanation given by Twitter was that the shares they are offering rely on a different database that the one they are going to use from now on.
The choices were to deprecate the feature, or rebuild it on a more modern tech stack.
And, as rebuilding has its own costs, (including work on other features, “more impactful” as Twitter says), the well-known social network decided to drop the feature altogether.
After having offered this kind of data for years now, Twitter tried to downplay the importance of share counts, saying that the count does not reflect the impact of conversation about content as it doesn’t count replies, quote Tweets, variants of URLs. Nor does it reflect the fact that some people tweeting these URLs might have many more followers than others. It’s true indeed that this kind of info is not shown directly, yet a lot of precious info about all this can be drawn based on the share counts.
Nonetheless, Twitter says that they will not let us ride our bicycles with no handlebars and they offer us a recommendation to get our share counts back: Gnip’s full archive counts. Great so far, yet, you need to know that Gnip is a paid social media API aggregation company. Long story short, the alternative they are offering is a paid one. After offering the share counts for free for all these years, switching to a paid and a bit complicated service in order to get what we are used to get free of charge is kind of unwelcome. Of course, for larger publishers it’s very likely that nothing will change. Those companies and publishers will continue to be able to publish and glean share counts from share buttons and article links in real-time. Yet, it’s smaller publishers and individual sites that will be affected.
How Is Twitter’s Decision Impacting the Digital Marketing World
Reactions to Twitter’s decisions were immediate and, as you would expect, there were mostly negative ones. Ironically or not, Twitter was the main playground for manifesting the discontent against the social network’s decision of not showing counts anymore. Under #saveoursharecounts articles, complains and even petitions were submitted. You don’t have to linger too long on the content posted here to understand that the overall atmosphere is not the most cheerful.
However, you might say that this is just the crowd’s reaction to the change and is not to be taken into consideration when thinking of the long-term consequences. Let’s take a look at a study to see whether this change would lead to a decline in sharing activity and share of voice for Twitter. In the mentioned study there were pulled together and analyzed sharing activity data generated across 300,000+ sites that are powered by Shareaholic’s Content Amplification Platform. These sites collectively reach over 450 million unique visitors each month.
As you can see in the screenshot below, it seems that sharing activity to Twitter has declined by 11.28% since November 20th until the beginning of December, when the study was conducted.
Not only the sharing activity overall will be affected by the lack of counts. Let’s take our case; we are a third-party app developer that offers within the cognitiveSEO tool the Content Visibility module, where users can take an in-depth look at their market’s social media activity, effortlessly revealing their content strategy as well as their competitors’. Without having access to the share counts, we cannot offer our subscribers a lot of data and statistics regarding their Twitter’s social footprint.
And since social media is one of the most important distribution channels in any online marketing strategy, tracking and analyzing which strategy provides the best results is of paramount importance.
You may also be a blogger and since your Tweet button won’t show visitors how many times your posts have been shared, that will lead to less interaction and therefore fewer tweets, as shown in the study above. Not to say how hard it will be to decide which type of content works better and on what type of public. It is true that you have other social platforms available but there are niches, like the SEO niche for instance, where Twitter is the main “yard”.
Moreover, if you’re a digital marketing specialist who offers consultancy for emerging brands, you will need the Social Proof that Twitter offered. You will need to show how popular you or other sources/content/people are with the online masses. Further, from the social proof’s point of view, it will be even harder for you to identify your client’s main competitors, their most successful content or get an idea of their online marketing strategy.
TwitCount- The Free Fix That Gives your Twitter Counts Back
Being intrigued by Twitter’s decision, as announced at the beginning at the article, we’ve spent our last weeks working on a solution for Twitter’s decision to eliminate counts.
We are happy to share with you our latest work, TwitCount, Twitter share counts alternative or, simply stated, the free fix for Twitter’s decision to deactivate share counts.
That’s right, it’s free and available for anyone. Although we’ve invested a lot of time and work in developing this solution, we were motivated by our users’ feedback concerning this matter but also by our own frustration and this is why we decided to offer a free service that anyone could benefit from.
TwitCount is easy to use and gives you exactly what you need: your Tweet counts back. It works like a widget that you need to place on your website in order to get the counter displayed near your Tweet button. After you add the TwitCount widget on your site we will start doing API calls to the official API in order to count the URL mentions on the fly. Leave the geeky stuff to us; all you need to do is connect your Twitter account to allow us to do the calls.
What you will need to do in order to see your counts on your pages is to place a button code to your website. You will be given a code that you will need to copy/paste, replacing the twitter button code. Counts will start appearing in maximum 1 hour. Starting the day you add the new button, all new pages will have complete counts data. Yet, old pages may show incomplete counts due to API limitation that allow us to show information for the tweets in the last week or so. The code that you will need to place on your website will be similar to the one below.
We don’t want to burden you with too many technical details so the important thing is that we’ve found a fix so you can easily get you twitter counts back. We’ve tested the widget on our own blog and it seem to be working just fine. Below you have a preview on how the TwitCount button will be appearing on your pages.
All you need to do is log in with your Twitter account, access: http://twitcount.com and and the shares will follow.
Not only will you get the share counts for any page you wish for but you will also get extra benefits. TwitCount will provide you with info about your most shared pages, it will let you identify the most active Twitter fans and track Twitter shares statistics about your site. All these benefits along with the main functionality: showing the share counts.
With no further introduction, we invite you to add TwitCount to your website and share with us your opinions on it. This app is not owned, associated or partnered with Twitter and the service is still in beta. Therefore, we would be more than glad if you shared your thoughts with us or if you sent your feedback.