This Friday, 20th November 2015, Twitter will be retiring the share count figure on their buttons along with the associated API used to retrieve it. This means after Friday it will not be easy to see the number of times an article has been shared on Twitter. We know many of our users value this count, so we have been working on a new way of calculating and providing the number of Twitter shares.

Introducing the BuzzSumo Chrome Extension

We suspect many people will not be aware of the change and come Monday there may be many asking “where do I find my Twitter share count?” or “how can I see how many people shared my post on Twitter?”.

In order to assist we have developed a BuzzSumo Chrome extension that people can install which will show the share data, including the number of Twitter sharers, for any web page. You can download and install the extension here.

buzzsumo-chrome-extension

Are Twitter Shares Important?

We believe that Twitter shares, like other social shares, are important. If a thousand people have shared an article it indicates that the article has more value and relevance than an article that has been shared by say just five people.

We accept that Twitter share counts can be inflated by bots and by multiple sharing. There is also no guarantee that someone sharing a post has actually read it. That said we still believe there is value in having Twitter share counts as they are one indicator of social proof and value. They can be combined with other data to provide a more comprehensive view but social shares are an important element within any assessment.

This is a view shared by Facebook. The Facebook News Feed uses likes and shares as part of their algorithm to determine relevant content. According to Will Cathcart, Facebook News Feed Director, the ‘most powerful determinants of whether a post is shown in the feed’ include:

  •      How popular (Liked, commented on, shared, clicked) the post creator’s past posts are
  •      How popular the current post is with everyone who has already seen it

The Retiring Twitter Share Count Was Not Perfect

Whilst we are sad to see it retired, we accept the previous Twitter share count was not perfect. There were some issues of accuracy that have been acknowledged by Twitter. It appears that links were not always resolved back to the canonical url which meant not all shares were counted or rather they were not added together for an article.

Twitter have also outlined some the technical issues with maintaining the share count API in their article here.

Calculating Twitter Share Counts In Future

From 20th November there will no longer be an easy way to access share count data. It is possible to buy data from Gnip (Twitter’s data arm) using their 30 day feed, and consume a stream of tweets, but a lot of work is still required to filter and calculate the number of shares for articles. 

We now purchase Gnip data and run filters on this data to identify content shares and sharers. We are using this share data, combined with data from other sources, to update our current database of Twitter shares. This enables us to provide an ongoing count of Twitter shares for articles. For our Pro customers we will also provide details on the Twitter sharers. The good news is that our new approach has improved and enhanced our sharer data.

Due to the costs of collecting Twitter share counts, both in time and data fees, we are restricting the frequency of our updates. Our data shows that the majority of Twitter shares take place in the first three days after publication. Thus we will regularly update Twitter share counts during this period. After this period we will only update the Twitter share counts periodically. This means after the first three days of publication, our count may understate shares between updates. We are still working on the frequency of updates which will depend upon the popularity of the article on Twitter i.e. we will update popular articles with lots of shares more frequently.

For those domains that would like their Twitter share counts to be updated constantly, we can provide this service for a monthly fee that will cover buying, processing and storing the data from Gnip. For further information please contact us at help@buzzsumo.com.

Download the BuzzSumo extension here.

Twitter Share Counts

18 Responses to “Twitter Share Counts In Your Browser: New BuzzSumo Chrome Extension”

  1. HathawayP

    Great job guys, this is really cool. This issue is close to my heart as it affects our product too (I wrote about Twitter’s potential motivations here – http://urlprofiler.com/blog/twitter-removing-share-counts-to-increase-share-price/).

    Keen to understand how your Twitter share data stacks up against the current share data we have. I tried your extension on a bunch of posts on our website (max 1 year old), and it absolutely nailed all of them – literally the exact same figure as the current share API.

    I saw disparity in data when comparing to older posts with more shares (e.g. https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo which has 921 according to Twitter’s API, yet 3723 with your extension).

    Will you be able to share anything to do with how accurate the data is, and if there is any expected variance due to certain factors?

    • Steve Rayson

      Hi, We have found issues where the current Twitter share count understates shares which may be due to the canonical issue. The best way is to look at the actual sharers, we have found instances where we find more tweets and sharers than the Twitter API reports shares. Unfortunately this article is from 2013 and we didnt collect sharer data then. On all new posts we show sharers which is a good way to check and in future we will also show their tweets so you can go back to the source.

      • dan barker

        Hello! I had a look at the Moz one. I think it’s an http vs https thing (try running the twitter API numbers for the same URL with http, you get 2802, which when added to the 921 you gave almost matches BuzzSumo’s 3723).

        Aside from that, I hope you are both we..
        Patrick: it would be nice to catch up next time we are both near 7 hills.
        Steve: it would be nice to catch up next time we are both near net.works.

        dan

        • Steve Rayson

          Hi Dan, yep, let’s get coffee. I should be around next Weds or Thurs if you are about. Mail me or DM me.

        • HathawayP

          Damn, great spot. I wish I’d looked at more examples now before the switch off.

          Dan just let me know when you are coming up – I’m basically always here or hereabouts (except for Christmas, when I’m actually away for most of it).

          • dan barker

            there’s a slim chance I’ll be there on Sunday. A moderate chance I’ll be there on the 20th. Still annoyed by this silly change of theirs. Bad guys!

  2. Corey Ferreira

    Great job in the way you guys are handling this. I thought we could count on you to provide a solution, and you did. Keep it up, love the product.

  3. Artur Brugeman

    Nice tool, Steve!
    I was wondering how you handle canonical URLs? For instance, this very article with and w/o trailing slash in the URL gives different share count in your extension. I’d expect them both give same share count bcs they have same canonical URL.

    • Steve Rayson

      Hi Artur, for the buzzsumo data, we use the canonical URL so you will see the same result in our app. The extension though calls the network APIs to give current counts (we update periodically in the app) and these networks will use the current browser URL. The exception is Twitter where we use our data.

      • Artur Brugeman

        I’ve been trying to get twitter counter for this url: http://buzzsumo.com/blog/ It’s been 2 days and it always shows me ‘wait 30 minutes’ message. Just saying to help you make it better…

        • Steve Rayson

          Hi Artur, that’s because that is a category not an article and we don’t check those. If you try in the app you will see we show you all the articles and shares in buzzsumo.com/blog

  4. Gloria

    That’s pretty nice tool 🙂 good job!

  5. Dave Davies

    Another great job. 🙂

  6. MirandaN

    Any chance there could also be a version of this for Firefox?

  7. Rick Ramos

    Any chance for a WordPress plugin? I think you can fill a hole in the marketplace for a premium paid plugin.

  8. Bangladesh Ship Supply

    Thanks for this info….:)
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    http://www.bdshipsupply.com/

  9. Ana Hoffman

    I am certainly happy and grateful to see BuzzSumo digging into their pockets to continue providing the stellar data we are so used to getting from it.

    I’ve taken the extension for a spin and love its functionality!

  10. M Lalah Jamaluddin

    im using sumome in https://idwebsolutions.net and newssharecount not working!

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