Mindshare Ispy Twitter Research


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  • Everyone is talking about Twitter at the moment. Whether it is for social/political reasons such as the plane crash on the Hudson in early 2009, the G20 summit in London or the Iran election, or even for lighter reasons such as Stephen Fry being trapped on a lift or even Jordan and Peter Andre splitting up, Twitter is the place to be talking and let your opinion be heard.
  • At the moment, there is already a wide range of brands using Twitter…
  • …but most are still working out how to use it in a successful way. A good example of ‘how not to use twitter’ is Habitat, that started using Twitter by tagging their posts with unrelated trend topics at the moment, causing indignation of some twitter users.
  • Bearing in mind that Twitter is a hot topic at the moment, and that there is so much we don’t know about it yet, we have conducted a piece of research with the objective of understanding who is using twitter and how they are using it. Also, we wanted to understand what are brands doing with Twitter and what users think of their presence, and subsequently what are the rules of engagement for brands in the twitterverse
  • To try to achieve our objectives we had 2 approaches: qualitative and quantitative.
    For qualitative approach, we recruited 40 respondents from across the UK to take part in Face to Face and online focus groups. We also did a couple of paired interviews online using webcams.
    With ages varying between 18 to 35+ years old, our respondents were split according to their prior experience of twitter (long term and new users) and if they were following brands before being recruited (half were already following brands when we recruited them).
    We also asked our respondents to follow a list of 5 brands during the week prior to the discussion groups taking place.
  • The quantitative methodology for our study consisted of two parts:
    User behaviour was analyzed using a random sample of 3,000 UK based Twitter users gathered from search results over a period of a week and a half.
    Brand Message tracking was utilized to analyze the transmission of messages throughout a network. Messages were analyzed from an origin page (one of a selected group of UK brands) throughout the surrounding network (the brand’s followers and subsequently out) to see what messages were passed on and how often.
  • If we look at ComScore figures, when compared with other social networks, Twitter seems to be more popular amongst older internet users, as well as stronger in London.
    Interestingly, as we’ll see later on, a good part of all twitter users are accessing it through applications. Comscore does not track application data, so it is fair to assume this popularity amongst londoners and older internet users is in reality even higher, since this group is also more likely to be iPhone/blackberry owners, therefore accessing Twitter through applications.
  • Twitter’s nature makes it more for non-friends, allowing respondents to feel free to write what they want on it.
    It also allows users to have less rigid rules when it comes to following/being followed.
    In general, twitter users are open to follow people they haven’t met:
    Like minded people
    Business people
    Interesting and relevant people

  • From our research, we found out that there are 2 different types of twitter users:

    Active Tweeters: login and post frequently, and contribute highly to twitter’s content.
    Passive Tweeters: post infrequently, read more than they tweet. Use twitter mainly as an information resource, and not so much to contribute with their own content.

    Aprox. 30% twitter users are Active Tweeters, accounting for 2/3 total tweets. This means that the majority of twitter users are Passive Tweeters, but the most tweets are generated by Active Tweeters.
  • We also looked into different types of tweets. Roughly, conversational tweets (@replies) represent half of total number of tweets. This indicates that twitter is also being used as a conversational tool between users.
    Even though only a small percentage of Twitter content is being re-tweeted, if we compared it with other types of content available (whether it is online, TV, press or other media), tweets have one of the highest rates of being passed through.
  • Heavy active users are tweeting more times a day than average tweeter, while some users are not tweeting at all. While for general twitter users the number of tweets per day seems to be steady from day one, active tweeters seem to fall in love with twitter when they join, tweeting very frequently on their first days. The tweet frequency tails off after aprox. 2 months for heavy users, but they continue to tweet more frequently than everyone else.
  • If we look at Twitter usage pattern during the day, we can assume that it is being used as a form of entertainment, being primarily used in the evening.
    Twitter usage throughout the day is very similar to general social network usage, increasing during the day and peaking in the evening, unlike overall internet usage that seems to be higher during the day.
  • As mentioned before, Twitter can also be accessed through a range of different applications, browser or mobile based.

    Only 43% of our network used twitter through it’s website. This means that the majority are using applications that comscore is not tracking at the moment, once again meaning that the number of twitter users are likely to be higher that comscore indicates. Therefore, there is potential for advertisers to forge links with applications, using it to target consumers.

    It is worth mentioning that at least 20% are using mobile applications. This seems to reinforce the idea we got from our qual groups, that due to twitter’s nature (easy and quick to access) it is more likely to be used on the go than other social networks.
  • The way twitter is designed provides a low barrier to creation. It is simple to use and open, allowing users to use it in a more flexible way. The only limitation is the 140 character limit, that users can use however they want to.

    There is no template on how to use it, as we have with other social networks, where we have defined areas to post comments, photos, etc. Users can use their imagination to take advantage of the fact that it is an open source and they can use it in several different ways.
  • This means that there is a diverse range of uses, which continues to evolve.
    In our research, we have identified 4 main ways of using Twitter, that range from a more active to a more passive usage of twitter.
    Self Expression
    Info Sourcing
  • When it comes to search function on twitter, it is still relatively unused at the moment, but there is potential to grow.

    Our respondents are starting to use twitter for opinion gauging, real time news, getting views from real people and crowd sourcing. Some respondents were using it to find real people opinion about movies, gigs they went to or to get live updates on particular events (such as G20 summit, for example).
  • Twitter offers a range of different functions, some overlapping with existent social networks (such as Facebook) and some quite unique to Twitter.

    Facebook is all about communication with friends and people you know. Similarly, twitter is also used for self expression (a bit like Facebook status) but it is much more about networking with people with common interests, not necessarily friends or family.

    Twitter also offers what we call ‘social search’, a positioning that is more related to Google, but being different in the fact that it is real time search, provided by ‘real people’.

    Twitter is quite unique, and the way it works seems to allow it to offer things that Facebook and Google don’t.

  • To date, brands have broadly taken 4 approaches: Values in Action, Brand Engagement, Sales Promotions and Customer Support. All these 4 approaches are utterly dependent on consumer ‘pull’, since consumers have to make the decision to start following brands to start with.

    In our research we focus on a few brand pages that illustrates these 4 approaches:
    Values in action: Innocent
    Brand Engagement: Compare the Market
    Sales Promotions: British Airways
    Customer Support: O2

    Next we’ll look in more detail at each one of the brand feeds and learn what our respondents thought about it.

  • Respondents appreciated tone, that reflected brands personality, and that made them feel as if there was a real person behind brand’s tweets

    Innocent using it to gather feedback from consumers regarding the company & to explain its position (used it to explain rationale for Coke stake) was also very appreciated by our respondents
  • Twitter’s quirkiness is good for characters and is suitable to provide brand entertainment.

    Some of our respondents that enjoyed the TV campaign were already following the tweet feed – those who weren’t didn’t see it as an intrusion since it is their own choice to follow it or not.

    It’s also a good vehicle to extend life of a campaign to those who liked it, without irritating those who didn’t.

  • Broadly speaking, respondents are open to learn about offers, but they expect to be rewarded if they follow a brand that uses this approach on twitter, as opposed to use site comparison sites, for example. They expect special offers.

    Most people don’t want to receive this type of tweets all year round, so generally will follow sporadically (only at specific times when thinking about travelling) or use search function to look for deals. So, this is evidence that number of followers is not the only measure of success on twitter.

    This approach is more likely to be RT
  • Respondents felt there was a human feeling to this approach, they enjoyed the fact that the brand actually replied to user’s queries. But, they wouldn’t like if a brand didn’t reply to them, as they think that is very negative. So, depending on the number of followers, this can easily escalate, as brands must make sure they reply to their users, to avoid the risk of getting negative reactions.

    As in the previous approaches, respondents would prefer to search through the tweet feed instead of following the brand continuously. Again, number of followers is not always equal to success.
  • The simple nature of Twitter’s design, means that changes to the service are constantly evolving through user convention. With the only limits being the length of the tweet, use has evolved to include linked multimedia content (easily provided by sites such as Twitpic) and message conventions such as “RT” or Re-tweeting.
    Through Re-tweeting, users can give credit to where passed on content has come from, while sharing it with all of their followers. This is profoundly powerful on Twitter as the entirety of a Tweet can be passed on to others (due to the entire message being concise, with external linking trying other content in).
  • Through users Re-tweeting messages to others, paths of message transmission are formed within a network. As shown above, network analysis can help us to identify which messages transmit throughout the network and how far they move. In the example above, a brand message about a sale can move from the brand’s direct followers (in red) to subsequent followers through reposting and then further on.

    The network analysis conducted within the study utilized custom software to track both explicit Re-tweets (those tagged with RT) and implied Re-tweets (where the message is kept consistent, but the RT tag hasn’t been applied).
  • Factors effecting possible WOM pass-on rates included amount of direct followers and message activity. High follower brands, allowing for a large base of guaranteed views and possible pass-ons, included Innocent drinks and Aleksandr Orlov (the mascot from Comparethemarket’s current campaign). High activity brands, allowing for more opportunities for message pass-ons, included O2’s main page, Howie’s cardigan and Aleksandr Orlov.
  • After analyzing brand messages and their pass-on rates, it was found that promotional tweets (such as the ones offered by Dell Outlet UK and British Airways) fared the best in being passed on by users. Both BA and Dell were average in their follower counts and message activity, indicating that the user preference to pass on promotional content is relatively strong and may be a strong indicator of pass-on adoption.
  • Averaging the reach of all the brand’s messages, it was found that pass on generates 6% of all reach for a brand on Twitter. Reach generated by pass-on is inherently minimized due to the guaranteed viewing of a message by a brand’s direct followers.
    In the best example of message pass-on, Dell Outlet UK’s messages were found to generate 11% of their reach through pass-on, with 8% of views coming from users reached one level from the brand. This illustrates the potential for pass-on reach as a smaller group of users in level 1 were able to pass-on the tweet to their larger follower base.
    While the majority of views occur almost wholly within the first two levels of a brand’s network, examples of messages going further were found throughout the study. One extreme example was found in Howie’s cardigan, which, seemingly due to its motivated network of users, passed on a message to 7 levels from the brand.
  • As brand’s move to interact with Twitter, its important to remember some key points. Establishing a brand presence on Twitter is the start of a conversation, not the end of an effort. Be aware of what people are saying about your brand on Twitter and join the conversation in a constructive manner. As Twitter’s search functionality becomes more prominent, the entirety of your public communications within the network become available, meaning that the relationship between you and Twitter users exist both in current communication and in those users searching your previous messages. Successful Twitter usage for brands includes fostering an interactive relationship, aligning brand values with the tone and content of communication and being aware of the overall network surrounding a brand presence.
  • Whilst Twitter can be a vital component, it needs to be considered within the wider context of a social media strategy
  • So here are ½ a dozen rules for engagement for brands to bear in mind when approaching marketing on Twitter – these also apply more broadly to all social media marketing
  • People choose to ‘follow’ so you must give them a reason to follow you and maintain that value to your followers
  • Twitter can be used effectively to complement you wider marketing activity and maintain engagement between other bursts of activity
  • Be genuine – Twitter is a human relationship and is public and permanent
  • Twitter is a ongoing relationship so don’t go cold on people at the end of a marketing campaign. Treat it as an ongoing platform for engagement.
  • Manage your level of activity carefully, respond to people but don’t batch send updates as this feels automated and cold
  • KPI’s should bear in mind more that just your direct number of followers. As we have found messages can successfully transmit many layers out and hit rich seams of influence beyond your followers.
  • Broadly speaking brands should listen before engaging in order to effectively develop a suitable approach to participation that can lead to an ongoing platform for advocacy.
  • Talk to us about how Mindshare can conduct bespoke research for your brand and develop a strategic approach to Twitter and your broader approach to social marketing.
  • Mindshare Ispy Twitter Research

    1. 1. Defining Brands’ Role in the Twitterverse iSpy Wave 5 1/30/20151
    2. 2. 0 500 1,000 1,500 2,000 2,500 3,000 3,500 4,000 Feb-2008 Mar-2008 Apr-2008 May-2008 Jun-2008 Jul-2008 Aug-2008 Sep-2008 Oct-2008 Nov-2008 Dec-2008 Jan-2009 Feb-2009 Mar-2009 Apr-2009 May-09 Jun-09 Jul-09 Aug-09 MonthlyUniqueVisitorsUK(m) Twitter has seen spectacular growth in 2009 & captured the digital zeitgeist 1/30/20152 Source: ComScore, June 2009 1/30/2015 9.13% Internet users
    3. 3. A wide range of brands are starting to use Twitter1/30/20153
    4. 4. But most are still working out how to use it1/30/20154
    5. 5. Our research objectives 1. Who’s using Twitter and how? 2. What are brands doing with Twitter and what do users think of their presence? 3. What are the rules of engagement for brands in the Twitterverse? 1/30/20155
    6. 6. Methodology - Qualitative 40 respondents from across UK • Face to Face & online focus groups • Online paired interviews with webcams Split evenly by: • Age group (18-24, 25-34, 35+) • Prior experience of Twitter (Long term & new users) • Prior following of brands (½ already following) Pre-task to follow brands Fieldwork Apr-May 2009 1/30/20156
    7. 7. Methodology - Quantitative1/30/20157 2nd Level Follower 3rd Level Follower 3rd Level Follower 2nd Level Follower 2nd Level Follower 2. Brand Message Tracking • Analysis of networked message dissemination • Brands tracked included: • O2, BA, Thomas Cook, Innocent, Howie’s, Dell, Andrex & Comparethemarket.com • 95,000 users & 4m tweets 1. User behaviour sample • Analysis of tweets to identify usage behaviour • A random sample of 3,000 drawn from UK based users
    8. 8. Who’s using Twitter and how? 1/30/20158
    9. 9. Twitter particularly strong in London and amongst older internet users 1/30/20159 Source: ComScore, June 2009 18% 23% 35% 31% 24% 23% 16% 18% 39% 40% 35% 38% 19% 14% 14% 12% Twitter Facebook Bebo MySpace 15-24 25-34 35-54 55+ 52% 51% 47% 54% 48% 49% 53% 46% Twitter Facebook Bebo MySpace Males Females 34% 29% 16% 31% 66% 71% 84% 69% Twitter Facebook Bebo MySpace London Rest of UK
    10. 10. Twitter network is much more open than other social networks 1/30/201510 0-10 11% 11-50 32% 51-100 18% 101-250 20% 251-500 9% 501-1000 5% 1000+ 5% Number of Followers • Less following of friends and family • More of interesting strangers / celebrities / information sources • So, less personal yet more open content is tweeted ‘Twitter doesn’t have all your random school friends so you can say a lot more without thinking about how people are judging you’ ’ (NU 18-24) ‘Very different for me...facebook is about mates and twitter is about thoughts and opinions and your interests’ ’ (NU 35+) Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis
    11. 11. Top 30% of users account for 2/3 of tweets 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% %Contribution % Users Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis • Login and post frequently Active Tweeters • Post infrequently • Read more than they tweet • Use it as information resource Passive Tweeters Passive Tweeters Active Tweeters ‘I like the idea of random blurbs and thoughts put out there to millions’ (LG 18-24) ‘i like the fact that it seems quite simple, its not too challenging. but also a great way of getting instant updates, a bit like RSS’ (LG 25-34) 1/30/201511
    12. 12. 0 10,000 20,000 30,000 40,000 50,000 60,000 01/01/2009 01/02/2009 01/03/2009 01/04/2009 01/05/2009 01/06/2009 NumberTweets Tweets: @ Tweets: Re-Tweets: Even split between ‘broadcast’ and ‘conversational’ tweets 1/30/201512 Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis Volume of tweets within network Jan-Jun 2009
    13. 13. Tweet frequency drops off after honeymoon period for active users 1/30/201513 Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52 55 58 61 64 67 70 73 76 79 82 85 88 91 94 97 100 TweetsPerDay Days Active Top 10% Average Bottom 10% Average tweets per day by time since joining
    14. 14. Usage patterns mirror social networking, peaking in the evenings 1/30/201514 0 20 40 60 80 100 120 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 ProportionPeakAudienceDelivery(%) Time Twitter Internet Social Networks Note: Rebased by peak audience delivery Source: Touchpoints / Mindshare Twitter network analysis
    15. 15. Traditional use through a browser makes up less than half of total Tweets Web Browser 43% twitterfeed 4% TwitterFox 2% TweetDeck 17% Twitterrific 3% Other 11% Tweetie 6% TwitterFon 4% twhirl 4% mobile web 3% TwitterBerry 2% txt 1% 1/30/201515 Browser Applications 49% Both Mobile & Desktop Applications 31% Mobile Applications 20% Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis
    16. 16. 1/30/201516 Simplicity of Twitter’s protocol opens door to myriad of uses…
    17. 17. A diverse range of uses which continue to evolve1/30/201517 Self Expression • Stream of consciousness observations • ‘Ambient intimacy’ – connections with friends Reasons to use TwitterActive Passive Networking • Connecting with like-minded users or people that work in the same business Information Sourcing • Independent and real time information gathering (akin to RSS) • Potential to use as a search tool Entertainment • Sourcing snippets of entertainment, celebrity news, comedy
    18. 18. Using Twitter for ‘social search’ is likely to grow Relatively unused application currently But respondents are starting to use Twitter for: • Opinion gauging • Real time news • Unadulterated views from ‘real people’ • Crowd sourcing 1/30/201518
    19. 19. Twitter fulfills needs that sit between social networks and search 1/30/201519 Self-expression Ambient intimacy Information sourcing ‘social’ search
    20. 20. So what if… Google buys Twitter? Search on Twitter will get better but the rest of Twitter may largely remain the same Google however incorporate real time search results around which they can sell targeted advertising
    21. 21. Brand usage of Twitter 1/30/201521
    22. 22. To date, brands have broadly taken 4 approaches 1/30/201522 e.g. Innocent e.g. Compare the Market e.g. British Airways e.g. O2 All utterly dependent on consumer ‘pull’
    23. 23. 1/30/201523 Values in Action - Innocent Quirky tone expressing brand personality
    24. 24. Brand Engagement - Compare the Market1/30/201524 Using Twitter to extend life of campaign to those who liked it, without annoying those who didn’t
    25. 25. Sales Promotion – British Airways1/30/201525 Expectation of exclusive offers & unlikely to follow continuously
    26. 26. 1/30/201526 Customer Support - O2 Opportunity to have contact with brand and get direct response is welcomed
    27. 27. Twitter has a huge potential to facilitate Word of Mouth 1/30/201527 RT practice grew from Twitter user culture • 1of 3 core actions on receiving tweet All content (ie tweets) can be directly passed on • Not the case in social networking sites
    28. 28. Concept of network analysis1/30/201528 Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis Brand Message: Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com RT @brand Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com RT @brand Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com Great News from @brand! Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com RT @brand Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com Finally! @brand Sale on xxxx at http://www.brand.com
    29. 29. Brands vary between high and low activity and follower bases, affecting their possible WOM 800 1,301 803 7,991 1,531 2,332 12,504 11,222 Andrex Howie's Cardigan Thomas Cook UK O2 DellOutletUK British Airways Innocent Drinks Aleksandr Orlov 1/30/201529 187 1278 158 2795 208 242 1016 1298 Andrex Howie's Cardigan Thomas Cook UK O2 DellOutletUK British Airways Innocent Drinks Aleksandr Orlov Brand Followers Brands such as Innocent possess a large base of directly reachable followers Brand Tweets Brands such as O2 create a large volume of messages, attempting to create a wealth of communication Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis
    30. 30. The chances of a Re-Tweet occurring, when considered as a whole are relatively small 0.39% 0.12% 0.07% 0.04% 0.03% 0.01% 0.01% 0.002% DellOutletUK British Airways Thomas Cook UK Aleksandr Orlov Innocent Drinks O2 Andrex Howie's Cardigan 1/30/201530 Probability of a Brand Follower Re-Tweeting any one Message Promotional Tweets seem to fare best Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis
    31. 31. 94% 4% 2% 89% 3% 8% On Average, Re-Tweets account for 6% of Total Message Reach 1/30/201531 Proportion of Total Message Reach by Levels Source: Mindshare Twitter Network Analysis Level 0 Direct Followers Level 1 Followers’ Followers Level 2 All Brand Average Dell UK Of all the brands, Howie’s gained the furthest distribution, out to level 7
    32. 32. Research key findings 1. Twitter’s protocol leads to a wide & constantly evolving range of consumer uses • Self-expression, networking, entertainment, info sourcing 2. Most users are ‘passive’, tweet infrequently & use as information stream 3. Social search is beginning to gain traction amongst mainstream Twitter users & will grow in importance 4. Consumers are open to brands on Twitter but (because) they have total control over access 5. Word of Mouth has as much, if not greater, potential on Twitter than social networks 1/30/201532
    33. 33. Brand rules of engagement 1/30/201533
    34. 34. View Twitter as a potentially vital component in a wider social media strategy 1/30/201534
    35. 35. Your brand is already on Twitter People are talking about brands on Twitter, so at the very least listen to what they are saying Some people are searching on Twitter – you need to have an official presence, as other people may also be claiming to be you People use Twitter in lots of different ways and this should direct how you choose to engage them So if you do decide to get involved on Twitter here are…… 1/30/201535
    36. 36. …½ a dozen rules of engagement1/30/201536
    37. 37. …½ a dozen rules of engagement 1. Give people a reason to follow – be entertaining and/or useful 1/30/201537
    38. 38. …½ a dozen rules of engagement 1. Give people a reason to follow – be entertaining and/or useful 2. Complement your wider marketing activity 1/30/201538
    39. 39. …½ a dozen rules of engagement 1. Give people a reason to follow – be entertaining and/or useful 2. Complement your wider marketing activity 3. How you react to people is public and permanent - so be human and genuine! 1/30/201539
    40. 40. …½ a dozen rules of engagement 1. Give people a reason to follow – be entertaining and/or useful 2. Complement your wider marketing activity 3. How you react to people is public and permanent - so be human and genuine! 4. Have an ongoing dialogue OR have a clear exit strategy 1/30/201540
    41. 41. …½ a dozen rules of engagement 1. Give people a reason to follow – be entertaining and/or useful 2. Complement your wider marketing activity 3. How you react to people is public and permanent - so be human and genuine! 4. Have an ongoing dialogue OR have a clear exit strategy 5. Judge your frequency of engagement carefully 1/30/201541
    42. 42. …½ a dozen rules of engagement 1. Give people a reason to follow – be entertaining and/or useful 2. Complement your wider marketing activity 3. How you react to people is public and permanent - so be human and genuine! 4. Have an ongoing dialogue OR have a clear exit strategy 5. Judge your frequency of engagement carefully 6. Measurement of success – bear in mind layers of influencers 1/30/201542
    43. 43. Next Steps 1/30/201543
    44. 44. 1/30/201544
    45. 45. 1/30/201545
    46. 46. Build advocacy Initiate conversations on subjects your customers are interested in Share news and information here first Build a plan for content so that you Tweets are regular and interesting Participate Manage and Resolve problems Encourage satisfied customers Follow the most relevant twitter users in your sector Set up you branded twitter page and build your Tweeting team Listen What are people saying about your brand Look for insights into trends and opinions Identify the most influential twitter users in your industry Identify problems
    47. 47. Talk to Jeremy and Alastair about how we can develop bespoke solutions to monitor and manage brand sentiment on Twitter and other digital social spaces Jeremy.Pounder@mindshareworld.com Alastair.Cotterill@mindshareworld.com 1/30/201547