Findings from the Ultimate Twitter Study

We invited members of our online research community, who use Twitter, to take part in this Twitter study and promote it to their followers and friends, on Twitter as well as on other social media. In total 620 tweeters from all over the world took part in the study. And it were the ‘real’ users of the platform as they do 17 tweets a day and are on Twitter for 14 months (on average).
The fully ‘fused’ research study, of which results could be followed in real-time on, consisted out of three main parts that cover the full range of opportunities to conduct market research on Twitter:
1/ Discussions with users of the social media platform via their answers on the tweet/question of the day (during 2 weeks) and 10 in-depth ‘twinterviews’ (consisting of 15 tweets/questions) via the direct messaging system of the platform.
2/ A quantitative profiling survey among the followers of the account we made for the study and their friends.
3/ An observation of what our followers share on Twitter in order to enrich our findings. The Twitter API was used to download the tweets from the site; text mining software for conducting the analysis. In total, more than 52.000 tweets were gathered! As a last step, we discussed the results of the study with some experts via an online discussion group.
Some of the key findings of the study:

  • The typical Twitter user seems to be a male in his late twenties/early thirties, who is quit tech savvy and active in IT, media/advertising or the consulting business
  • The user generated definition of Twitter sounds as follows: “A social network of friends and/or business contacts where you can share and discover interesting, exciting, inspiring or funny news/links in a very fast way”
  • It’s perceived that the people on Twitter are also influential in the offline world in one way or another (industry experts, journalist, bloggers, celebs, …)
  • Most people started using Twitter out of curiosity and to stay connected with the people and trends within their industry
  • People start following people who are able to make them: curious, smile and/or wonder
  • Brands on Twitter should act like humans: listen carefully and talk back in a very personal way! This instead of spamming their followers with advertisement…
  • Twitter is the new sharing platform: 20% of the tweets contain a link to a blog, site or movie
  • Google, Apple and Amazon are the most discussed brands on Twitter. Followed by a mix of tech companies and strong international brands like Starbucks, Disney and HP
  • People really address questions to brands, hoping that they are listening and will answer!

Tom De Ruyck: ‘Twitter is a conversation hive, and it could be very insightful for brands to tap into it and learn from what consumers are saying about them. Secondly, people tweet in the heat of the moment: when they experience something positive or negative with your product. This is never seen before! It’s a threat (negatives comments about your brand are in the open), but also an opportunity for your client services team to take immediate action and make customers happy again. And probably they will spread the word about that too!’
Profile your own Twitter network, take a look at the presentation and the ‘Ultimate Tweet Hall of Fame’ @!
The presentation with the full results from the study was given at ‘MRS’ Online Research Conference’ in London and ‘Digital Marketing First’ in Brussels. Next opportunity to catch-up with Tom and the results of the study is at the next ‘InSites Smartees’ on the 19th of November in Ghent (subscribe via The presentation will include concrete tips to use Twitter both as a marketing and a research tool within your company!
For more information contact Tom De Ruyck via

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