Link-shortening service bit.ly released an analysis on its blog of the anatomy of a shared link’s lifespan.

Items shared using bit.ly’s service tend to stay hot for about three hours regardless of what service you use. Links tend to follow the same traffic path as well — a quick spike in traffic after it’s posted and then a sharp drop-off. The company used a link’s half life, or how long it takes the link to get half the clicks it will ever receive, to measure staying power.

According to their analysis, an average half life for a link on Twitter is 2.8 hours and slightly longer — 3.2 hours — on Facebook. Sharing a link from YouTube gets you a few more hours of attention: the average half life there is 7.4 hours.

Ultimately, however, bit.ly has found that the content of a link means a lot more than where you share it, backing up the old idea that content is king after all.

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