A study from Advancement of Artificial Intelligence this year took on the task of figuring out how and why Twitter users interact with the favorite function. It turns out that there are more uses than you may think. There were 10 main types of favoriting actions that were identified — showing that the little star button is more versatile than marketers likely suspected.
Of the 606 participants polled, 65.1% of respondents were aware of the favoring function of which 73.5% ever favorited a Tweet. Only 5 percent of respondents tweet multiple times a day though the favorites list is rarely used again. A whopping 77.4% of those that favorite a Tweet neglect their favorites list and rarely visit it. A favorite will likely live on until perpetuity as well as 91.8% of users have never or “extremely rarely” unfavorited a Tweet.
So why do folks favorite? The study attempts to uncover the motivation behind users clicking on that little star. 331 users were polled on motives behind the favoring actions with the motives broken down into various categories. The most common answer given by 62.2% of respondents was that they used the function to “like” a Tweet. Other response/reaction motives include users favoriting because:
- The Tweet was informational (17.5%)
- The author of the Tweet (9.4%)
- The Tweet contains a personal relate to the user (14.8%)
- There is an emotional stimulus provided to the user (12%)
The other main format for favorites is to use as a purpose or function instead of using as the response. These people are not fav’ing due to a response, but rather to help them achieve something specific. The most common way a favorite is used to bookmark content. Of the respondents polled, 22.6% use Twitter favorites as a bookmark so they can revert back to the Tweet at a later time. Other functional uses of favorites include:
- Unwritten communication (12%)
- Competitions (4%)
- “Twitter Interaction Hierarchy” – This is essentially allows people to confirm and approve something based on a favorite (4.8%)
And lastly, 2.7% of users found that favorites were used accidentally or for no specific reason. Whoops.