We Can Tweet, But Will Customers Listen?

100 million users, 190 million site visitors per month, and a collective 65 million tweets each day. Twitter’s statistics certainly sound impressive so it’s easy to understand why companies want a slice of the micro-blogging pie. But if a recent study by 360i is to be believed, most brands are still more or less irrelevant on Twitter. Even if marketers are tweeting, customers are barely listening.

Some revealing stats:

  • More than 90% of tweets come from consumers rather than businesses
  • Only 12% of consumer tweets mention a brand – with the most popular being Twitter itself (followed by Apple products/brands, Google and YouTube)
  • When someone does mention a brand name on Twitter, they’re most likely talking about a Social Networking Site (22% of mentions), or an Entertainment (17%) or Technology brand (17%)
  • The most mentioned brands tend to appear only as part of constant daily conversation, not because of anything the brand is or isn’t doing on Twitter. In fact, since only 1% of consumer tweets that mention a brand are part of an active conversation with that brand, it would appear that, for the most part, marketers are conducting one-way conversations.
  • When a consumer does mention a brand, only 7% of tweets show the brands in a negative light. 11% are positive, with the overwhelming majority – 82% – neutral.

According to the study, 94% of non-corporate tweets are personal in nature and 43% begin with an “@” sign, meaning they’re directed at another user, not the sender’s followers at large. By contrast, only 12% of messages from marketers are directed at individual Twitter users, indicating that marketers still see the site as a broadcast medium rather than a conversational one.

It should be noted, however, that this study was carried out between October 2009 and March 2010 – before the website took any advertising via ‘promotional tweets’, so it’s quite possible that Twitter’s effectiveness for marketers may change soon.

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