Have you heard the theory that the Twitter algorithm penalises tweets with links?
Based on data from 200k tweets tracked by ilo.so, it's clear that tweets without links got about 140% more impressions than tweets with links during a June–August 2022.
Why do tweets with links get fewer impressions?
The reasons for this are unclear as Twitter does not reveal how the algorithm works.
The results above also aren't 100% scientific as none of the tweets in the sample were repeated with and without links and then compared.
However, the main consensus behind why tweets with links do less well on Twitter on average is that Twitter wants to keep users in the app. By showing fewer tweets with links, maybe Twitter is hoping to keep users engaged in the timeline rather than getting lost on an external website.
It could also stem from that fact that the meaty content of the tweet is being served outside of Twitter, rather than shared directly on the platform in a tweet or a thread. Tweets with links are often a summary of an idea or an introduction to a topic, with the link used to provide the full content.
Have you experience fewer impressions with linked tweets? Analyse all of your tweets and followers with ilo
Dan is a long-time Twitter user and founder of ilo.so