8 Insights on How the Top 100 Brands Use Twitter in 2014 – Study

How the top brands use Twitter - Study

Facebook is now your pay to play channel and Twitter is your stream of consciousness.

Also, how you use Twitter and Facebook should be different as they are not the same beast. Tweets don’t have the same longevity as a Facebook post and so Twitter requires more feeding to engage with your user.

On the revenue creation side you might not sell directly from a tweet but it sure can increase your chances of brand discovery and awareness. Then the conversation will center around whether the first click or the last click should be attributed with the revenue result.

But being discovered is where it all starts.

Whether it’s a tweet in your stream or a search on Google. If they haven’t found you then you can’t start the engagement, the conversation or close a sale.

Simply Measured and Interbrand have just released a study on how the top 100 brands use Twitter. It reveals 8 insights on what works for them and how they are playing in the Twitter torrent.

#1. Brand adoption

Almost every one of the top brands has a Twitter account and since the study started in 2012 that has not changed.

What is changing is how many followers they have, how they use it and how often.  The biggest change is in the number of followers with 70% of the top 100 brands now with 100.000 followers which is up from only 48% since 2013.

This gives brands some free distribution to reach their followers. This is a major difference between Facebook and Twitter at this stage of the social media platform evolution.

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

#2. Posting frequency

Posting frequency on Twitter and Facebook is sometimes treated by companies in the same way. It shouldn’t. Twitter will tolerate much more frequent posting than Facebook. In fact some studies show that a tweet every 15 minutes receives higher engagement than every 30 minutes.

The study results showed that tweeting every fifteen minutes instead of thirty led to the following:

  • Increased traffic by 31%
  • Engagement was up by 89%

Twitter should be seen as a stream and not an inbox.

What is interesting to see is that more brands are tweeting more frequently. Even though nearly 50% are only tweeting 1-5 times a day the number that are posting 25+ times has increased, though this is more about interacting with users.

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

#3. Tweeting habits

Sometimes it is said that our habits reveal who we are. For brands the study revealed the following about “Tweeting habits”.

  • Tweets have increased by 22% in the last year
  • @Replies to users are up from 61% to 70%
  • 90% of brands replied to users at least once in Q3 2014

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

#4. Engagement

What is obvious with the study is that engagement on Twitter is up. This is happening partly because of the increase in the number of followers which has had an increase of 27% overall.

Here are the numbers on engagement.

  • Engagement with brand tweets is up by 83% since 2013
  • The number of ReTweets of brand Tweets has increased by 89% in the same period
  • Favourites  account for 59% of user engagement with brands, which is up from 49% a year ago

The takeaway is that users are more willing in 2014 to endorse branded content.

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

#5. The rise of visual tweets

Twitter has increased its image sharing visibility (with tweets now displaying images in the stream ) with tweaks to its platform over the last 12 months. What is is interesting to see with this study is to see the engagement level that this is creating.

  • Photos made up 45% of sent Tweets, but accounted for 51% of all engagement.
  • Links accounted for 37% of sent Tweets, but were only responsible for 26% of @replies and Retweets.

The takeaway is that the top brands are taking advantage of this new “visual” Twitter and posting more photos and hence receiving greater engagement.

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

#6. The top link types

The study discovered that 59,870 of the brand tweets included a link of the studies 136,834 tweets by the top 100 brands . This reveals that 43.75% of all tweets contain a link.

What was the most popular type of link?

  • Pic.twitter.com links were the most popular with 14,581 Tweets which is 14% of all the links

The results for engagement were as follows:

  • Tumblr.com links saw the highest engagement per Tweet, with 1,522 @replies and Retweets per Tweet, but accounted for only 51 of the sent links.
  • Vine.co links, which display as embedded videos, accounted for 329 brand posts and saw the second highest engagement at 1,194 @replies and Retweets per Tweet.

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

#7. Hashtag use is exploding

Hashtags were considered a very geeky activity 2-3 years ago but now with its universal adoption by most social networks their use has exploded.

The hashtag numbers:

  • 95,825 Tweets included hashtags in Q3 2014. This was up significantly from Q4 2013, when only 52,741 Tweets included hashtags. That is an increase of nearly 82% in just 12 months!

Hashtags increase user engagement by 24% over a tweet with no hashtags. But don’t overuse them. Rule of thumb is around 2-3.

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

#8. The top industries using Twitter

Twitter has been working hard over the last year or two on making mass media integrate and work better with social media. That is why you have seen the rise of hashtgas and twitter handles on TV shows and media companies.

The result is that Media brands have by far the largest engagement by users over any other industry on Twitter. It is double the next closest industry which is retail.

The study also unveiled that restaurants engaged better than any other industry with their users at nearly 400% more than any other category.

How the top 100 Brands are using Twitter Study

What about you?

How do you use Twitter. Are you posting photos? How is your engagement with your users? Are you increasing your Twitter followers?

Want to see the full study? Click here.

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  • SunriseGuidedVisual

    Omigosh, Jeff, should I really Tweet every 15 minutes? I don’t want to be pushy, but I really do want people to hear my work and benefit from it. Thx!

  • http://www.shermansmithblog.com/ Sherman Smith

    Hey Jeff,

    I’m actually using the twitter app on the phone and it works a lot better for me. The reason why I started using the app is basically from reading other blogs on how we as blogger should start using twitter more, the benefits of it, and also the features we should take advantage of! I so most of people I engage with via their blogs were on twitter, so i figure I might as well do the same. I started using pictures as well as my links, and started using hashtags this year. So far so good! Thanks for sharing these stats! Have a good one!

  • Aseem Jibran

    Excellent stats and an awesome piece on Twitter Jeff. Marketers just can not ignore the phenomenon called Twitter. Thanks for sharing the insights :)

  • http://www.blog.plumbead.com/ LeAllyson Meyer

    Fascinating information. I can tell that I tweet way too often.

  • http://digitallayne.com/ Scott Boyher

    I am amazed at the low number of hashtags used. There are
    only 95,825 hashtags used in Q3 with over 100 million tweets. Maybe I am
    reading it wrong but that just seem low. People don’t know the engagement they
    are lacking when they fail to include at least one hashtag.

  • sergeitoom

    Hi, Jeff. Good Engagement with New Vision. How work on Social Media / Next Level / !? Kind Regards, Sergey .

  • Laura Gratta

    This is such great info! It’s great to see what kind of tweets receive the most engagement. It’s also interesting how much of an impact hashtags make.