Brands Using Twitter Primarily to Boost Awareness; Sales an Afterthought

SMMU-US-Brands-Use-of-Twitter-for-Marketing-Mar2014US brands are most likely to be using Twitter as a marketing tool in order to increase brand awareness, according to the full results of a survey from Social Media Marketing University (SMMU), the initial results of which were released a little more than a week ago. A majority of the 1,112 brands surveyed also use Twitter to drive traffic (58%), engage existing customers (55%) and find new leads and customers (51.9%), but few are looking to drive sales (24.4%). Those results mostly align with recent research from Ad Age, which found that brands advertising on Twitter were chiefly doing so to increase brand awareness rather than to generate leads or sales.

While the Ad Age study measured the objectives of paid advertising on Twitter – rather than marketing – the two studies’ results indicate that the platform is mainly being used for branding efforts. That’s in contrast to a recent study from Econsultancy and Adobe, which found that among global digital marketers, social media ad buys had evolved beyond branding goals to lead generation objectives.

According to the SMMU study, just 9% of respondents have used Twitter’s paid services, although another 44% are planning to explore them in the future. Some 17% are apparently unaware that Twitter even offers paid services. Those are lower figures than seen in the Ad Age survey, in which 46.5% of brands marketing on Twitter were also advertising on the platform.

Among the various features brands are using to market on Twitter, hashtags (88.7%) are the most popular, followed by images (64.3%). Only 2.4% claimed to use Vine. Brands might want to explore greater use of images: recent data from Twitter finds that tweets including photos get substantially higher retweet rates than those without.

Other Findings:

  • Other ways in which brands are using Twitter include: to create engagement during events (62.4%); to build relationships with influencers (62.4%); and to monitor mentions of their brand (58.4%).
  • Slightly more than 1 in 10 respondents claimed to have had a Twitter presence for more than 5 years, although the majority have been using Twitter for less than 3 years.

About the Data: The survey was conducted March 1-12 among 1,112 US respondents using Twitter as a marketing tool.