Reading between the lines: How Twitter has altered brand interaction with consumers

11th Mar 2013

 Bazaarvoice reports back on the Convesation Index

The latest Conversation Index from Bazaarvoice finds people are spending longer on Twitter, and tweeting more while they are there. But what’s happening between the lines?

By analysing 26 million tweets, Bazaarvoice reports back on the ways consumers are using Twitter to interact with some of the world’s most famous brands.

“As social content and social data expands, so does the scope of our knowledge about how it both influences and mirrors activity across the digital and physical worlds,” Bazaarvoice explained.

“With over half a billion active users, and an average of 340 million tweets per day, Twitter is like a social seismograph for the entire world.”

Focusing on Twitter, Bazaarvoice worked with social data provider Gnip to acquire 26 million tweets, and compare, contrast and combine over 8,000 television and radio mentions, 17 months of stock price data, more than a year and a half of Google search interest data, and 270,000 pieces of consumer generated content from online reviews. The stipulation? Each tweet mentioned at least one of 13 brands from the BrandZ™ Global 100 Brands list: Adidas, Clinique, Colgate, Gillette, Hugo Boss, Nike, Pampers, Pepsi, Ralph Lauren, Samsung, Intel, Tesco, and Sony.

The story these tweets tell is one that shows the relationship between social media and brands is one that continues to evolve as more and more consumers turn to Twitter.

Perhaps the most striking find for retailers is that Twitter volume for brand mentions is highly correlated with stock price. If people are talking about you, it’s likely they are also acting on it. A buzz around a brand tends to coincide with high costing price, and likewise, a decrease in the volume of tweets about a brand tends to signal a fall in stock value.

Across the board, Bazaarvoice suggests Twitter appears to becoming a “destination rather than a portal or midpoint”:

“People are increasingly going to Twitter for the experience it delivers — conversation and timely information — not as an intermediate step between them and what they’re really after.”

What’s more, visitors are staying longer and are likely to explore more pages or searches while they are there. In August 2012, the average time spent on Twitter was 666 seconds, compared with 583 seconds for August 2011. Overall, pages per visit increased by 58.7 per cent from 2011 to 2012.

Unsurprisingly, the volume of tweets per day grew by 143 per cent from 2011 to 2012. As brands rush to build up their online presence to keep up with the evolution of social and e-commerce, it’s important to note that mentions of brands on Twitter have only grown by 113 per cent during the same period. What’s more, over time it seems Twitter users are increasingly choosing to retweet about brands than write their own original tweets. Back in 2010, 85 per cent of brand mentions on Twitter were original, with 15 per cent retweets. In 2012, only 78 per cent of brand mentions were original, 22 per cent retweets.

“There’s good news and bad news for brands in this data.” Bazaarvoice noted. “The increase of brand mentions overall means there is more data to learn your customers’ thoughts about you, but as the retweet analysis shows, that data is increasingly redundant. Retweets are becoming a bigger part of the Twitter brand story, but a retweet is a weaker social signal than an original tweet from, say, an advocate or detractor. Retweets also contain less original data, and may not represent the users behind them as much as a wholly original tweet from the same user.”

Twitter has received a lot of pressure over the years for failing to fully monetise its platform. While social media commentators and brands might be keen for sales-driven results, it’s everything else Twitter contributes to a brand experience apart from purchases that can often become a unique selling point for the reader.

“Convergence will soon cease to be the exception, and will become the rule, just as product reviews on company websites were once the exception.” Bazaarvoice commented, and while social, physical and online stores continue to merge into one consumer experience, the perception of a brand on Twitter has possibly never been more important.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, and with offices in Amsterdam, London, Munich, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Stockholm, and Sydney, Bazaarvoice is one of the world’s leading providers of social commerce solutions. Click here to read The Conversation Index 5 in full.


Ava Szajna


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