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Should Twitter Make View Counts and Engagement Levels Public?

On September 30th, 2022, Twitter began testing a new feature that allows some users to see view counts on tweets. Twitter users selected to be a part of this test noticed a view count displayed next to the total number of likes under each tweet.

View counts were previously only visible to the author of a tweet after expanding the analytics for a tweet—revealing the total number of impressions, engagement, detail expands, profile visits, and new followers the author gained from the tweet.

For now, only the total view count has been made public, though some users are feeling anxious about the change.

Transparency vs. Privacy: What Tweet Analytics Can Tell Us

Reactions to the test, which we found out about from SocialMediaToday, were varied, with many users feeling exposed by this data becoming public. For some, an easily accessible view count on your own tweets can feel a little daunting, especially when it can sometimes be a lot larger than your follower list or intended audience. Conversely, a low view count can feel a bit shameful for someone trying to grow a brand or identity as an influencer.

For brands, Twitter analytics can be an extremely valuable tool in crafting an effective social media strategy. For smaller personal accounts, the analytics tab can be a sobering experience when that undiscovered viral tweet goes unnoticed. That high-impression, low-engagement ratio can sting.

A lot of views coupled with very low comments or likes indicates that your content just didn’t resonate with your followers. For brands and personal accounts alike, revealing that kind of data in public could be unwelcome.

Others are praising the change, grateful for further transparency on a platform alleged to host millions of bot accounts. Bot accounts are commonly used to pad the “Follower” lists of accounts willing to purchase them, and in most cases they are unable to engage with content the way a real person would. Thankfully, there are ways to spot a bot on Twitter.

High follower accounts with purchased followers have previously been somewhat detectable with disproportionately low likes and comments. After all, it’s unlikely that an account with 100,000 real followers would only get a handful of likes on each tweet.

With this new change, we can now see exactly how many real people are viewing each tweet—making a large discrepancy between follower count and organic behavior like views and engagement even more obvious.

Why Would Twitter Make Analytics Public?

One major reason why Twitter might want this information to be public is that with high performing tweets or accounts, it advertises exactly how widespread and influential Twitter can be.

The views metric tested in this new feature include views from browsers that are not logged into the site, a significant bump to content reach that can’t be reflected in other kinds of engagement. With more accurate public analytics data, influencers and high-profile brands that use social media may find Twitter a more alluring way to interact with followers and fans.

Will View Counts Stay Public?

With over 200 million active daily users, Twitter making this small change a permanent feature is unlikely to drive away many regular Twitter posters. While some are enthusiastic about showing off their influence and seeing the real data for themselves, those who feel exposed or anxious about the change where their own tweets are concerned may be more reluctant to keep logging in and sharing.

So far, public view counts are restricted to accounts selected for testing this feature, remaining private for most users. There has been no word from Twitter about whether the change will be rolled out to all users or cut entirely, and based on the divided public reaction, it could go either way at this point.

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