A new study from RadiumOne reveals that hashtag users are leveraging them primarily to communicate personal ideas and feelings (40.7%) and to search or follow categories and brands of personal interest (34.1%). The survey, which finds that 7 in 10 use hashtags while on a mobile device, shows that hashtags can be a meaningful tool for brands: about 1 in 5 respondents said that hashtags are good for finding brands and products. Additionally, when asked what they do when they see a hashtag on a social post, 41.8% responded that they click on the hashtag to explore new content, while 18.3% said they go directly to the brand or person’s site or profile.
The RadiumOne survey comes on the heels of reports that Facebook is working on incorporating hashtags into its service.
Not everyone is enamored with hashtags, but the RadiumOne survey respondents tend to view them more as useful (43%) than annoying (14.7%), although about 1 in 5 don’t notice them or say they have little impact on their user experience.
For brands trying to cash in on hashtag targeting campaigns, offering discounts might be a good place to start. 50.8% of respondents said they would share hashtags more often than they currently do were advertisers to award discounts for sharing product-based hashtags. 17.6% said they would follow the brand and associated content, if they weren’t already doing so, and 14.2% would make mobile or online purchases more frequently in response.
A Buddy Media report from June 2012 found that tweets with hashtags receive twice as much engagement as those without. However, the study discovered that only 24% of brand tweets contained hashtags.
About the Data: The RadiumOne data is derived from a survey of 494 participants, 58% of whom use hashtags on a regular basis. The survey sample was skewed towards females (71%) and middle-aged (35-54; 44%) respondents, which the researchers attribute to comScore’s crediting of middle-aged women as the “group most responsible for growth in social media site usage.”