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Stories with above average social media referrals have a longer "lifespan" than those which do not fare so well on Twitter and Facebook, according to a recent report.

Parse.ly's latest 'authority report', published this week, shows most stories receive the majority of pageviews within three days of publication.

"You sort of assume that after that first day your traffic is going to drop but you actually have that ability to continue to push traffic towards it," said Sachin Kamdar, chief executive officer and co-founder at Parse.ly.

The report takes into account referrals from homepages, direct traffic, search, mobile and social networks.

Stories with a referral rate of 20 per cent or more from social media on average continued to receive a high number of page views for 3.2 days after being published.

"I think it shows that people are continually interested in content beyond day one of posting it, especially for news sites", Kamdar told Journalism.co.uk.

The data and analytics platform produced the report by selecting the 5,000 articles with the highest traffic from each publisher in its network, which includes outlets such as Reuters, The Telegraph and Condé Nast.

It then calculated how long it took for each article to receive 90 per cent of the total page views it received within a 30-day period, over a two-month analysis period of September to November 2014.

The median average marks the halfway point between all individual articles analysed.

Parse.ly authority report
Graph from Parse.ly's authority report showing how soon after publication articles received 90 per cent of their total page views, by percentage of total articles analysed.

For example, the above graph shows that of the articles analysed for the report, the highest percentage (24 per cent) reached their peak (90 per cent of their total pageviews) on the second day after publication.

However, whereas pageviews dropped steeply after this point for referrals from homepage and web traffic, of the stories which had more than 20 per cent of referrals from social media, 20 per cent reached their peak on day three.

Parse.ly authority report
Graph from Parse.ly's authority report showing how soon after publication articles that did well on social media received 90 per cent of their total page views, by percentage of total articles analysed.

Stories posted to Facebook also tended to have a longer median lifespan than those posted to Twitter: each social network showed a median average of 3.2 days and 2.5 days respectively.

Parse.ly authority report
Screenshot from Parse.ly authority report, April 2015

Overall, stories with higher social media referrals extended their lifespan by around 14 hours.

"Facebook is a company that actually actively manipulates your newsfeed to show you content it thinks that you're going to like, and so it looks like they might be doing a pretty good job here of extending the lifecycle [of stories] through their algorithms", said Kamdar.

Twitter, on the other hand, was well suited to breaking news and other "up to date things" due to the fast-moving nature of its newsfeed, he added.

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