A Case Study of Rob Delaney’s Twitter Account

Rob Delaney TwitterDid a weird little study tonight.  Awhile back I heard and interview with Rob Delaney on Bullseye with Jesse Thorn.  Great podcast if you haven’t heard it.

I knew Rob was a comic, but I didn’t realize how large a part Twitter played in breaking him to a larger audience.  So I thought I’d sit down and analyze his Twitter feed to see what he’s doing with it.  May seem weird, but I always like to look for the patterns in things the successful people are doing and see how they can be adapted to my own work.

Now, I’ll admit I sat down with lofty ambitions of being somehow able to analyze all 13,000+ tweets Rob has posted.  But it’s now 11:30pm and I’m getting tired after the first 345.  So let’s work with that and call it a valid sample, shall we?

What You’ll Learn

  • Rob’s proportion of tweets
  • The average response in favorites and retweets
  • Why you shouldn’t feel bad about your own numbers

In very flimsy scientific terms, let’s check out the stats:

65.6% – Joke tweets.  Of course Rob’s a comic, so jokes are what should be going on.  Are they all zingers?  Certainly not.  But it’s a heck of an effort.  And there’s plenty of commentary about whatever people are talking about that day which I’m sure helps bring him up in searches and pick up plenty of retweets.

24% – @Somebody.  Rob does a lot of creating jokes aimed at celebrities and nearly all of his @’s were celeb oriented or aimed at businesses like McDonald’s and Walmart.

19% – Hash tags.  While Rob liberally uses hash tags in his posts, I’m not sure how much they help as a lot of them seem to be there to add to the feel of the joke rather than actually being places for search reasons.  His favorite seems to be #terrific!

15.7% – Retweets.  Not just straight retweets.  Every one includes a joke that riffs on the original tweet or at least gives a snarky answer to whatever question was asked.

11.3% – Links.  A very small portion of posts include links.  I didn’t count links that were part of some else’s tweet that Rob retweeted.  About a third of the links were included in his rare promotional tweets for shows.

4% – Promotional tweets.  Most of these were for shows.  I think I spotted a couple others that may have been video links or something longer he’s written.  Each of the tweet for his gigs included a link for more info, @ tags on the other performers, and a hash tag on the city.  Nicely done.

1.8% – Replies.  A very small number of actual straight replies to comments from others.  This flies in the face of the “social” part of social media.  But you can’t argue with the stats.  Other entertainers are more interactive.  There’s no one right way to do this.

Rob has nearly 783,000 followers and follows just 1300 people.  So he’s not doing a lot of “follow for follow” type promotion unless he’s doing a lot of unfollowing too.  I’d love to know where the tipping point on that number was.

A glance at a few tweets (seriously, it’s getting late and I need some sleep…) shows that a good majority of his joke tweets pick up 150-200 retweets with usually twice as many favorites.  I find that interesting.  The favorite thing mystifies me.  How many people actually go back and look at their favorites?  It reminds me of my mom’s substantial collection of VHS taped Oprah shows.

Some of the real zingers will pick up 800 plus retweets, though the proportion to favorites doesn’t follow.  On the big tweets they’re nearly even.

That means the average tweet will be retweeted by .02-.1% of people and favorited by .04-.1%.  That is a super tiny percentage which makes it a real numbers game.  I’d love to see what the link click through numbers look like.

To match those numbers, you’d need 5000 followers to average 1 retweet per tweet.  So I don’t feel so bad now. 🙂

His tweet volume looks to be about 7-15 tweets per day.  So every hour or two.  That’s quite a bit more than I do.  I tend to “binge tweet” before gigs while I’m waiting to go onstage.  Need to start spreading those out more.

So that’s what a successful Twitter account looks like.  Definitely a numbers game like I said.  But apparently it’s resulted in more people going to Rob’s shows. And as we all know, that leads to better shows in better venues.

I’ll be doing some more writing on Twitter over the next couple weeks because I’m getting fed up with Facebook deciding who gets to see what.  Stay tuned kids.


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