Twitter Dominates CMO Social Network Plans

Posted by: David Kiley on July 8, 2009

It’s here, there and everywhere. The popularity of social networking is climbing by the week with virtually every age bracket, right up to seniors.

Today 110 million Americans, or 60% of the online population, use social networks, according to a new study by Anderson Analytics. That number is conservative, because instead of counting unique users or everyone who has an account, the Anderson study counted only people who have used a social network at least once in the past month.

According to Anderson, the average social networker goes to social sites five days a week and checks in about four times a day for a total of an hour each day. Nine-percent stay logged in all day and are constantly checking out what’s new.

Social networkers’ feelings about brands online are more fairly positive. Some 52% of social networkers had friended or become a fan of at least one brand. When asked by Anderson if they would like more communications from brands, 45% were neutral, while 20% said yes and 35% said no.

Anderson conducted the study online in June with 5,000 demographically representative respondents, and then went in-depth with 1,250 of them.

Facebook has emerged as the leading site for volume and attention from marketers now that Myspace has established a solid pattern of decline, especially among consumers advertisers find most attractive at the moment.

While Facebook continues to struggle in its quest to monetize all that online volume, Twitter is emerging as the platform that seems to intrigue marketers even more than Facebook.

Of the leading social networking platforms, Twitter by far has the lead in attracting marketing interest in the next 12-18 months, according to this week’s Brand New Day/CMO Club poll.

Of 103 chief marketing officers who responded to the question asking them which platform would figure into their marketing plans the most in the coming months, 40.8% responded Twitter, followed by 26.2% saying Facebook, 16.5% saying LinkedIn, and 8.7% responding “Other.”

A few of the quotes offered by the CMOs:

“I look at Twitter and Facebook more for Branding and LinkedIn for demand generation and lead nurturing”

“While the question forces a single answer, organizations really need to take a holistic approach to social media. One that reaches all potential consumers for the brand, and does so in a compelling & consistent way that builds awareness & equity for the brand. Not doing so will result in your brand failing to connect with your customer in a meaningful and viral way.”

“My approach for twitter is different for many other CMOs. I leverage Twitter to improve customer services and responsiveness to customers. I leverage Facebook for internal employee alignment and encouragement around our marketing and differentiation programs.”

Anderson Analytics and Advertising Age crunched the data collected by the firm to come up with profiles of the different social network communities.

Twitterers: More interested than the others in many subjects but skew particularly high in all news categories, restaurants, sports, politics, personal finance and religion. They also especially like pop culture, with music, movies, TV and reading. Buying habits mirror that. They're more likely to buy books, movies, shoes and cosmetics online than the other groups. Twitterers are also entrepreneurial. They are more likely than others to use the service to promote their blogs or businesses. More likely to be employed part-time (16% vs. 11% average), have an average income of $58,000, and average 28 followers and 32 other Twitterers they're following. They're not particularly attached to the site, though -- 43% said they could live without Twitter.

MySpacers: While MySpace users skew younger, they also said they'd used the site much less in the past six months. The 67 million who are still there are into having a good time. They're more likely to have joined MySpace for fun and more likely to be interested in entertaining friends, humor and comedy, and video games. They're less into exercise than any other social group but seek out parenting information more than any other. Their average income is the lowest, at $44,000, and they have an average of 131 connections. They're more likely to be black (9%) or Hispanic (7%) than users of the other social sites. They are also more likely to be single (60%) and students (23%).

Facebookers: There are 77 million Facebook users. Out of 45 categories, only national news, sports, exercise, travel, and home and garden skewed even slightly higher than average, and then by only one or two percentage points. They are more likely to be married (40%), white (80%) and retired (6%) than users of the other social networks. They have the second-highest average income, at $61,000, and an average of 121 connections. Facebook users skew a bit older and are more likely to be late adopters of social media. But they are also extremely loyal to the site -- 75% claim Facebook is their favorite site, and another 59% say they have increased their use of the site in the past six months.

LinkIners: All about business. More males than females (57% to 43%). Highest average income, at $89,000. More likely to have joined the site for business or work, citing keeping in touch with business networks, job searching, business development and recruiting as top reasons. They like news, employment information, sports and politics. More likely to be into the gym, spas, yoga, golf and tennis.
Excluding video-game systems, they own more electronic gadgets than the other social networkers, including digital cameras, high-definition TVs, DVRs and Blu-ray players.

Brand New Day and The CMO Club publish the result of a survey conducted among CMO Club members every week, appearing on Thursdays.

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Reader Comments

Tom H. C. Anderson

July 10, 2009 9:20 AM

Agree that Twitter users are interesting in that they are the" loudest" group Online and therefore can help you get your message out. But it would be a mistake to ignore the other big three, a good SNS strategy needs to understand and include the overlapping spheres of influence, see: http://www.tomhcanderson.com/2009/07/09/overlap-among-major-social-network-services/

We'll be posting a few more interesting findings on this on our blog and site in the coming days.

@TomHCAnderson, Anderson Analytics

kevin keenmon

July 10, 2009 4:22 PM

I find it interesting that so few people wanted more communication from brands.

Kevin's Advertising Blog

Jeff Molander

July 10, 2009 9:10 PM

Most marketers are addicted to what they think is valuable but what the rest of the organization knows is not. Case in point: Twitter. It’s so important that “it will change everything…” so broad that it includes anything and so profound that nothing can measure it. To infinity and beyond! Sound familiar? There’s never been a better time to put bad, wasteful marketing habits to bed but how? Start at the top — question the core value system that marketers use — tell them “no, that’s not valuable and here’s why.” It’s time for some tough love.

Most digital marketers believe Twitter to be tremendously valuable although they cannot tell you, concretely, why. Sound familiar?

Twitter’s value perception is kept high by marketer’s disconnection with the way people actually use it.

No surprise — just like how most brands have no idea, really, how people consume traditional / mass communications media. The true value of Twitter, for most brands, is endlessly unknown… and it’s best kept that way so far as we’re concerned because that supports the perception of high value. Just like the old days… but marketers get to claim that it’s shiny, new, digital and relevant to the business. Why? Because it’s… well… it’s the Internet silly.

Let's start with some simple math:

With every additional person you follow on Twitter the average ‘attention value per followed person’ decreases!

This is simple math. It’s math that the CFO can do and, hence, you must answer to that. The number of Twitter followers is not a score — it’s a statistic. It’s like ‘minutes used on your phone plan’ or ‘number of claimed dependents.’ Why would a marketer treat it as a score — a measure of social media success? UGH!

frank

July 10, 2009 10:08 PM

candidly put!Many businesses are often ill structured for the level of marketing help they get. If you for instance hire a CMO to do nothing other than approve copy and layouts then a biz is better off hiring an ad manager.The politics of marketing decision making extend to a reality some biz cultures would rather not accommodate.

James Liu

July 18, 2009 3:48 PM

I think Jeff Molander made a great point.

Tom H. C. Anderson

July 19, 2009 11:01 PM

@Kevin, I think the interesting part is not that 35% were against it, this isn't unusual when you basically ask "do you want to be marketed/advertised to?", but rather that over half either want or are ok with (neutral on) commercial involvement.

@TomHCAnderson

Vickie Smith-Siculiano, PMP

August 19, 2009 2:31 PM

I don't see how CMOs can avoid using Twitter as part of their social media strategy - as long as there is a clear goal in mind, and maybe multiple accounts each with their own - I think it is a win-win!

Jim R

August 22, 2009 10:05 AM

I'm not at all surprised so few people wanted more communication from brands. I'm surprised it wasn't lower. The first thing CMO's are going to have to realize is that branding doesn't matter. People trust what their connections say, not what the brand says it is. Few people believe in or trust brands anymore. And the last thing they want is a bunch of branding messages shoved at them through SNS. Social Media is all about listening and building trust. Listen, provide service, provide value, and every once in a while mention the brand in a very subtle way. The value to the business is in building and maintaining a relationship, not channeling branding messages. The joy of something like Twitter is that the user has to *choose* to follow you, and can easily block you. Using SNS as another advertising channel won't work.

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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