E-Marketing in Minneapolis David Vinge, eMarketing Dashboard: Twitter Turning To The Dark Side - Advertising

Friday, September 11, 2009

Twitter Turning To The Dark Side - Advertising

The debate is still out on Twitter’s effectiveness as a marketing tool, but new data from Penn State plays right into the company’s move to fully open users’ status updates to advertisers.

Companies are already getting targeted, free advertising on Twitter, as the research found that 20 percent of all tweets—or one out of every five updates—mention specific brand names or products. "Businesses use micro-communication for brand awareness, brand knowledge and customer relationship," says PSU associate professor Jim Jansen. "Personal use is all over the board."

Researchers at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) scanned through over examined half a million tweets for the study; the team found that one-out-of-every five updates were either requests (to friends, followers or the companies directly) for product info, or responses to these requests. The team looked for tweets mentioning a brand and why the brand was mentioned -- to inform others, express a view on the brand or something else -- and found that people were using tweets to connect with the products.

Sentiments about the companies and their products were both positive and negative; Jansen said he was actually surprised by the percentage of favorable comments.

As for the value of these branded tweets, it seems that there’s room to glean qualitative analysis about brand perception and affinity from them, at least. Jansen said micro-blogging could ultimately be on par with e-mail “in terms of its communication impact” for advertisers; the research team will continue to study Twitter and its impact on the business sector in order to form more concrete conclusions.

The research team is now conducting a focused study specifically on how companies manage and use their Twitter accounts. After all, you can't have your marketing department spending half their day twittering while they neglect the proven business communications tools.

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