Report: SXSW 2010 - What Twitter #Tags Reveal


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bestofsxsw was a interactive website put together by ObjectiveMarketer to understand the trends around #sxsw hastags in twitter. The conversation analysis provided insights into the following -


The report provided influencer and demography data that could be used for planning similar campaign on twitter, or directed campaign on other channels like email or direct mail. The full report can be downloaded here.

ObjectiveMarketer has a strong analytics platform that helps marketer's understand the Twitter/Facebook conversations, and help them identify segments and trends. For more information contact us at .

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Report: SXSW 2010 - What Twitter #Tags Reveal

  1. 1. #SXSW Case Study What twitter #tag reveal about your social campaigns? SXSW is an interactive and music event organized every year in Austin. This year ObjectiveMarketer decided to tap into the users twitter streams around the #SXSW event. ObjectiveMarketer also created an interactive portal at for user interaction such as view trending topics, retweets and recently posted images. The users could also retweet/share from the interface. This report is focused on some of the findings from the data thus collected, and analyzed.
  2. 2. "The fact that anyone listens to what you have to say is a big deal" via @garyvee #sxsw Activity Most tweets were from the users with friend/followers count at around 10,000. Virality Users with higher number of twitter followers get more retweets. However if the friends count is less than the followers count, it effects the retweets negatively. Key Findings Retweets are not effected by how long back the twitter account was created. Content Tweets with Images or rich media received fewer retweets Longer tweets were more likely to be retweeted. Optimal length is anything above 80-90 characters. Campaign Planning The most active time for tweeting in the conference was from noon to evening However, Retweets were not as spread out as the tweets, most of the retweets were only happening in the noon Audience There were a broad set of people in SXSW, with very different background and interest. There were some 2
  3. 3. interesting co-relation between users bio, and retweetability. Males outnumbered females by 2:1 ratio 3
  4. 4. Method The data was collected for the period of 14th March to "In 2009 more data 22nd March using twitter-streaming APIs. The search was generated by was looking for #SXSW tag in the tweets. Twitter #tags individuals than the are increasingly used by brands/organizations to run entire history of contests/campaigns. The report highlights the mankind through importance of analyzing the participants in the #tag 2008. " #sxsw campaign, and based of that actively modifying the campaign to meet the goals. There were approximately 45k unique participants in the SXSW conversations, creating more than 200k unique tweets. These tweets were self identified tweets (appended with #sxsw). There were other conversations around sxsw that were not identifiable directly (no hashtag used), and these were not captured by this study. (continued) 4
  5. 5. The involvement was SXSW is a focused high-energy event. Most people high with an average attending the event are both cutting with respect to the of 4-5 tweets created technology and aggressive with goals, and therefore it is per user. expected that the crowd will have a lot of twitter users. In SXSW the Involvement was high, with an average of 4-5 unique tweets created by each user around #SXSW. Followers Most active twitter users were with follower base of around 10,000. Involvement Note, we have normalized for the population distribution. So what we see is that users with 10,000 followers are 5 times more likely to participate in the event twitter stream than users with 100,000 followers. Friends The most active twitter users were with friend count of about 10,000. But there is not much difference in activity level for users with higher or lower follower counts. However there is a cutoff of 100 friends, anyone with less than 100 friends there was negligible activity. Takeway If you are recruiting users for a campaign, ignore users with less than 100 friends. 5
  6. 6. Status The users who were actively tweeting in sxsw were people who had tweets in the range of 1000 – 100,000. The activity level of the users with fewer tweets was high, but it was sprodaic. In most likely case they were either self- promoting, or tweeting around specific event. Takeway It is not always necessary that people who are heavy twitter users will be the most active twitterers for your campaign. Through the campaign keep an eye on the trends, and based of that fine tune your strategy. 6
  7. 7. Twitter is not a social Twitter engagement and Most Retweeted Users network. Its an effectiveness of the information network content and conversation These were the 25 most that helps people with retweeted users: can be measured sharing & discovery effectively by number of (@ev at #SXSW) Twitter Handle Total retweets generated. More Retweets number of retweets anywhere 1036 generally indicates a ev 730 highly engaged sxsw 601 audience. clear_events 301 garyvee 266 mashable 248 Understanding your key SXSWPartyList 233 influencers, and InvisiblePeople 220 motivating them to share twitter 182 Retweets your messages should be ScrewYouSXSW 178 integral part of the jeffjarvis 163 campaign design. Tools brainpicker 156 like ObjectiveMarketer omarg 127 help you find your hardlynormal 125 influencer around PerezHilton 122 keywords, topics #tags. aplusk 116 jeffpulver 115 113 AmericanApparel SXSWFreeNOMS 112 blackjoelewis 106 foursquare 105 dspark 103 LAWeekly 103 chrisbrogan 102 7
  8. 8. "There are 2 kinds if Retweets seems to be strongly co-related to number of people on Twitter. followers. Higher followership did not guarantee higher Those who want more followers & those who retweets, but higher retweets required higher number of lie." @guykawasaki followers. #sxsw Retweets-Followers Follower – Friend Ratio Follower to Friend ratio matters for retweetability. The tweet is less likely to get retweets if the user had lower number of followers than the friends. Interestingly, if the friends count are higher than followers count, the retweets is not entirely zero. There are some retweets. This can be attributed to the fact that genuinely interesting posts will get retweets irrespective of the person who tweeted it first. However the number of retweets are significantly more when the follower/friend ration is >= 1. Discoverability is a big problem in twitter, and therefore it always helps to have more number of followers.
  9. 9. The tweets with image links in them received lower Tweets with images retweets than the tweets without the image links. The are less likely to be retweets for tweets without image was close to 31.6%, vs. shared. when there was image it was only 16.8%. The result can be explained because most of the images shared were of personal in nature, e.g. snaps from events, and these were less likely shareable compared to general tweet about the sessions or sxsw. Also unlike Facebook in twitter image or rich media is not directly available for interaction, the user needs to click out of the twitter to go to some external site. This therefore can be hindrance to retweet goals. Image - Retweets Takeway Embedding multimedia content, such as image may not be as effective on twitter as it is on Facebook. Plan for how it may or may not affect your retweet goals, if you are sharing images. 100% 80% 60% Retweets 40% Total 20% 0% Images All 9
  10. 10. a. Tweets smaller than length 20 are almost never Tweets are shared retweeted. Makes sense, as 20 characters are more, if the length of hardly 3-4 words (not worthy of retweets) the tweet is more than 80 characters. b. Tweets with length 20-80 are sparingly retweeted; notice how the curve has dropped significantly for that range. c. 80+ characters have pretty good chance of getting re-tweeted. d. Interesting the retweets do not drop after 120 characters. Tweets with length more than 120 characters do not leave room for retweet text. But seems like it does not hurt the retweets. We however recommend keeping the length of text less than 120 characters, as it helps in keeping meaning of the Tweet Length - tweet intact after retweet. Retweets 10
  11. 11. Most tweets happening between 12:30PM – 3:00PM SXSW is a party event, with lot of late night events, but Most Active Time seemingly most tweet activities were around usual working time of 10 AM – 3PM with the peak happening around 12:30 – 1 PM. Retweets followed tweets by about 30min to 1hr. Interestingly retweets did not happen all through the day, most retweets happened around 1PM, and it dropped more drastically compared to the drop in number of tweets. People were tweeting more towards evening then in morning. Most of the SXSW crowd was sleeping during 12 AM- 5AM. Takeway Tweets/Retweets can have different activity peaks. For a successful campaign understand and plan around the peak activity. 11
  12. 12. Common terms involving the users participating in the SXSW conversation Social Media, pop culture, Creative Director, Real Estate, Public Relations, User Experience, graphic designer, Web Developer, Hip Hop, Community Manager There were about 186 real estate agents, or people with interest in real estate, and there were about 250 PR folks. It is interesting how diverse the group was at SXSW, from social media, graphic designers all the way to real estate folks. Most Common words that occurs on the User Profile description social, marketing, digital, director, designer, writer. Design, technology, business, blogger, creative, entrepreneur, student, manager, founder, developer, people, husband Again notice how varied the group is – from blogger, writer, creative to business, founder, developer. Occurrence of “husband” term prompted us to look if there is some trend for male/female demography. We Cross-pollinate learning from #tag found that Total number of users with “Father” or twitter campaigns to “Husband” in their bio was more than 2k. whereas the other digital number of users with “Mother” or “Wife” in their bio was marketing efforts only 1k. So the men exceeded women by 2:1 ratio. such as SEO. 12
  13. 13. What about the people, who got retweeted, is there something about their description that is different? These are the most common words found in the description of folks who got retweeted – Social, marketing, twitter, blogger, digital, anywhere, people, director, editor, technology, founder, co- founder, design, writer, community, online, strategist, author, creative The people who dropped out of the first list are business, entrepreneur, student, developer, husband. These are the people who were likely to be creating a lot of content, but not retweeted. It seems like always pushing messages is not the best way to get retweeted. The folks who were not in the first list but made into the You can use twitter audience profile to retweets list are – strategist, author, editor, co-founder, find the geo- anywhere. They created less content, but got demographics of retweeted more often. your user base. Where did the SXSW participant come from? Central Eastern Pacific Mountain London Alaska Amsterdam Hawaii Brasilia Time (US & Time (US & Time (US & Time (US & Canada) Canada) Canada) Canada) 13
  14. 14. URL Linked to the Profiles Facebook Linkedin Myspace Blogs Almost equal numbers of people were linking to either of the social network profiles. However, significantly more numbers of people were linking to some sort of blog.1 Takeaway Knowing where the users reside on different social User Profile networks, you can fine tune your other social media campaigns to reach the user base. Very small % of people, (0.6%) were linking using short URL to track clicks on the referenced URL. Do users with older accounts get more retweets? 14
  15. 15. Red is the age of the users who were retweeted, green People like to write is age of all the users. There is no shift in the distribution, long tweets. so it can be safely assumed it does not matter how long you have been active on twitter for retweets. There is a peak of retweeted users for very old joiners. These probably are the social media celebrities who also happen to join very early, but for more general users it did not matter how long back they created the twitter account. Length of Description Average length of the bio is 77 characters. It is really small, and maybe guided with general briefness on twitter. People do not seem to be writing long bios on twitter, with a high % of blank bios. 15
  16. 16. "Making something that Protected Users is public more public is a violation of privacy" There were only 450 users who had protected their danah boyd #SXSW tweets. #sxswsa Verified Users There were only 120 verified accounts (less than 0.2% of total participants.) Average Tweet Length Average length of the tweets: 102 characters. There is tendency towards writing longer messages, notice the sharp rise of the curve at the right corner. 16
  17. 17. 19% of the users were There were 437 unique twitter clients being used, of not using any clients. which only 30 had ‘twitter’ in their name Twitter Clients No Client Clients Top 15 Twitter Clients Used Twitter Client Updates web 35571 TweetDeck 33553 Tweetie 19700 Echofon 8102 API 7450 Technical Data UberTwitter 7426 HootSuite 7118 Seesmic 5247 Twitterrific 4221 txt 2706 mobile web 2602 twitterfeed 2412 twidroid 2042 foursquare 1326 TwitPic 1118 A lot of the updates were happening from mobile devices, but Tweetdeck/web were still accounting for majority of the updates. 17
  18. 18. Twitter provides great ObjectiveMarketer is a social media marketing firm opportunity to learn based out of Redwood City, CA. Agencies and about your target business user use ObjectiveMarketer’s social media management suite to execute campaigns on social market. channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Youtube. ObjectiveMarketer provides strong analytical platform that helps clients not only execute but also identify, understand and interact with the influencers/amplifiers on these social channels. Additionally ObjectiveMarketer provides custom solution for creating data based landing pages for twitter streams around events or keywords e.g. This report is one of the reports that ObjectiveMarketer can provide their clients to About Us help understand the demography, and behavioral profile of the twitter users engaging with the brands on Twitter. If you want to similar report for your business, or want to get help with campaign or social media use strategies please email us at 18