How long is a new link clicked on?

Yesterday one of my earlier posts was linked to by what appears to be a very high traffic blog – In just 24 hours the lifetime number of page views of my blog went up by almost 50%.

The traffic has already dried up to just a trickle, and it got me thinking about how long posts and links remain “live” before people stop clicking and their attention moves on. I happened to look several times over the day at my WordPress stats, jotting down a few numbers:

Hours over which people clicked on an inbound link

The inbound link was from a US site and the first I knew was in the morning European time, at around 500 visitors already.  Eyeballing it I would say that the number of inbound visitors halved every two hours. The URL shortening service Bitly have done a post on this (they have somewhat more data than!)

So we looked at the half life of 1,000 popular bitly links and the results were surprisingly similar. The mean half-life of a link on twitter is 2.8 hours, on Facebook it’s 3.2 hours and via ‘direct’ sources (like email or IM clients) it’s 3.4 hours

I also experimented a little in the middle of the day, discovering that adding a couple of links to related posts of my own at the bottom of my article increased the page views per visitor by around 25%.

The number of new subscribers (welcome!) went up by at least 3 (wow! nb it’s hard to impossible to keep track of people subscribing via rss feeds), which implies something of the order of 1 new subscriber per 200 visitors to the blog. I believe that’s a typical ratio.

Oh, before I forget:

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