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Q1 2015 Twitter Advertising Developments: Interesting Research And FYIs

This is an excerpt from our Twitter Q1 2015 Advertising Developments Intelligence Brief

Last week, we highlighted the Twitter developments in Q1 that gave marketers new ways to reach consumers and signaled future opportunities to keep an eye on.  In this post, we’ll look at some of the most compelling platform research to be published during the quarter and other notable Twitter news that advertisers should know about.

Twitter Research

Twitter demonstrates how engage people are with a TV show

Setup: People flock to Twitter to engage in conversations about stuff happening right now — including television. Over the last several years, researchers like Nielsen and McKinsey have found correlations between the volume of Twitter chatter around a show and the number of people that actually tune-in to watch. Taking a step further, Nielsen set out to learn whether Twitter volume around a show was predictive of how engaged people were with that show in real life.

To probe the issue, Nielsen monitored brain activity related to attention, emotion and memory for 300 people aged 21-54 as they watched undisclosed shows. The researchers then compared whether brain-wave spikes (indicating high interest in whatever was happening on screen) occurred at the same time as spikes in Twitter chatter around the show.


Analysis showed nearly 80 percent correlation between increased brain-wave activity and increased Twitter volume around a television show.

This indicates marketers can use Tweet volume to predict how engaged an audience will be during a particular program. This insight could help marketers gauge what returns they will get when launching promoted Tweets into TV-related conversations.

A follow-up study will follow a similar method and determine whether Twitter activity is predictive of engagement with television ads.

“As the audiences are getting more engaged with the segment, the Twitter activity is getting more intense.”

– Avgusta Shestyuk, director of neuroscience at Nielsen Neuro

Large consumer brands need a mix of always-on and organic Tweets

Setup: Our Principal Researcher Chris Poirier, the brains behind SocialCode Labs, partnered with Twitter to probe whether there are distinct differences in strategy and outcomes when examining tent-pole (think SuperBowl) versus always-on (think general brand awareness) content and advertising programs. The study examined nearly 70 brand handles, 150,000 organic Tweets and more than 4,000 promoted Tweets across the first 30 weeks of 2014.


Fortune 500 brands’ Promoted Tweets gained 670 percent more retweets and favorites per week than non-Promoted Tweets.

Consumers interact with brand Tweets throughout the work week, though retweets and favorites are highest on Saturday and Sunday.

The brands analyzed deployed 10 organic Tweets and three promoted Tweets per week.

How people use Twitter on the path to purchase

What Happened: Twitter partnered with research firms Millward Brown and Crimson Hexagon. The goal was to uncover insights around how people use Twitter when buying stuff, so marketers can serve the right message at the right moment. The Millward Brown study synthesized findings from more than 1,000 women in the U.S. who had purchased a cleaning/home goods product in the last year. The Crimson Hexagon study required an analysis of retail chatter.


People on Twitter plan to spend 21.7 percent more than people not on Twitter in the next six months.

49 percent of female respondents say Twitter content influences their purchase decisions.


Twitter and Google partner to put more Tweets in search results

Twitter’s active user base does not reflect the entire population of people who see Tweets. For example, many people see Tweets who are not registered with Twitter (and who are therefore difficult to track). By partnering with Google, there will be more Tweets injected into search results. This could drive more people to Twitter to consume ads, making the platform more valuable for marketers looking to achieve substantial reach. An even more utopian scenario is that more Tweet visibility in search results will motivate more people to sign up and patronize the platform.

Homepage experiments

Getting all the value Twitter offers requires some setup time. To reduce that setup time and consequently reduce friction to new people signing up, Twitter is testing a new homepage with previews of all the different information people could consume and people they could interact with on the platform.

Ads in profile experiments

Twitter launched a small test to see how people react to targeted advertisements placed in their profile. Verified profiles are excluded from the test.

Download the full Twitter Q1 2015 Advertising Developments report.

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  • Ben Weiss, Marketing Content Strategist

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