How many followers did resorts and hotels lose during the recent Twitter purge?

We’ve all heard about bots and spam on Twitter, but when Twitter detects suspicious behavior (even if it’s not a bot) they will “lock” those accounts until they can confirm everything is a-okay. Locked accounts haven’t been much of a talking point thus far, but on July 11, 2018 Twitter announced:

This week, we’ll be removing these locked accounts from follower counts across profiles globally. As a result, the number of followers displayed on many profiles may go down.

The New York Times claimed this could reduce the combined follower count on Twitter by up to 6%, so how did resorts’ and hotels’ follower counts fare? Take a look.

The Goods
To find our answer we looked at 400 resort and hotel Twitter accounts that were active on Twitter in the months before and during the purge. Before the purge, these accounts had roughly 7,000 followers on average. The purge happened sometime on July 12, 2018. So we started by looking at the increase or decrease in follower counts on that day. In the chart below, each blue line represents the change in follower count of a single brand.

A few actually grew on that day, a lot saw little or no change, while roughly 1/3 saw a noticeable drop in the follower count.

Keep in mind, however, that the results here are ordered left-to-right by the size of the change, but what if we order them by the original size of the account?

Interestingly, it’s nearly the same. Meaning, the more followers you started with the more likely you were to lose a larger percentage of those followers in the purge. Sure enough, when you pull average follower counts for those two groups – those that did not shrink and those that did – the difference is significant:

  • Average original # of followers of accounts that DID NOT shrink: 1,723
  • Average original # of followers of accounts that DID shrink: 14,788

The biggest change in our sample was a drop of just over 3%. While that’s no small number, it’s a far cry from the 6% that was predicted.

What This Means
The bottom line is, yes, most hotels and resorts lost at least a few followers and will likely continue to do so at a very slow pace.

That said, we’ve seen no significant change in engagement before, during, or after the purge so while it may sting to see that follower count dip a little, it appears followers resorts were losing were long since lost just as Twitter claimed.

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