As of October 2020, concurrents numbers in the Tweets by Traffic module of their real-time dashboard have been lower than typical. This article explains the cause of the change and next steps.
How Tweets by Traffic works
When a user clicks on a link in a tweet, a referrer is set of the form t.co/abcxyz, where t.co tells Chartbeat that the user came from Twitter, and abcxyz is a unique ID telling Chartbeat which tweet a user came from. By looking at this ID, we are able to aggregate traffic at the tweet level.
What has changed
Recent browser changes by some browsers, including Chrome and Safari, have caused traffic from Twitter to publisher sites to come through to your Tweets by Traffic module with the referrer set only to t.co/, eliminating the unique ID. This has the effect of obscuring the specific tweet a user clicked on for users in those browsers.
Over the last several weeks, we have seen the rate of users with unique IDs shrink, to 20% as of 10/29/2020. Given that, numbers inside of Tweets by Traffic are significantly lower than expected, because they only reflect a subset of your traffic.
How can I continue to understand my Twitter audience?
First, note that all other Twitter-related functionality in Chartbeat is unaffected by this browser change — overall Twitter traffic counts, Twitter badges, and social traffic counts are unchanged.
Tweets by Traffic numbers themselves are lower than they were historically, but are still directionally correct: your top Tweet by Traffic remains the tweet driving the most traffic to your site. We advise customers to look at the relative popularity of tweets, versus comparing today’s Tweets by Traffic numbers to historical numbers.
What is Chartbeat doing about this in the long term?
Unfortunately, because this change is caused by browser changes, Chartbeat and Twitter have little power to affect it. Given that, Chartbeat is evaluating options for how we can continue to provide the most actionable data about your total traffic. We will keep customers updated of plans going forward.