Surprise! Twitter study shows that promoted tweets result in sales

November 21, 2012

Twitter has commissioned a new study Tuesday, initially reported by CNBC, showing that (not surprisingly) promoted tweets and Twitter advertising have resulted in increased sales to consumers and a greater awareness of brands when considering a purchase.

It’s important to note that the study (which can be accessed online here) was paid for by Twitter, and conducted by Kantar’s compete market research division. It looked at 7,600 users and their interactions with 700 brands, and found that customers who were exposed to any retail tweets (as in, they saw a single tweet from a retailer or visited a retailer’s Twitter page), were more likely to make purchases and visit online retail sites than people who had no exposure. The study found that these Twitter users are more likely to visit online retail sites than non-Twitter users, and they’re more likely to make online purchases. The study only examined users of Twitter.com’s desktop version, not users of mobile or tablet Twitter apps.

That makes sense, since it’s not a stretch to reason that Twitter users are likely to be more web-savvy people. But the study also found that those users are more likely to make purchases and visit sites when they had seen tweets by those retailers. The sample size isn’t huge here, but the findings seem reasonable when considering online shopping habits.

The study generally supports Twitter’s ongoing goal: that the social network is a good place to advertise your company, and with in-stream promoted tweets as opposed to banner ads, it’s a less intrusive way to get your brand on people’s phones while they shop.

The survey results are beneficial to Twitter, obviously, but they do point to an increasingly successful advertising strategy, which is highly reliant on mobile. Valued at at least several billion dollars, Twitter is under immense pressure to prove its financial strength, and advertising is playing a significant role in that strategy.In June Twitter noted that mobile ads often outsold web ads, and as Facebook struggles to communicate how promoted advertising appears in its newsfeed, Twitter’s emerging success could make it a more viable alternative for businesses looking to advertise.

(c) 2012, GigaOM.com.

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