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Though Twitter is currently in the spotlight as a media darling, only 8% of advertisers and consumers think it’s a very effective promotion tool, according to (pdf)? results from a LinkedIn Research Network/Harris Poll.

The study also found that advertisers are more likely than consumers to know about Twitter and are more likely to believe in the microblogging tool’s future power to help promote products and services.

Twitter Awareness and Sentiment

The research, which included surveys of both advertisers and the US public at large, revealed that just less than half of advertisers (45%) think Twitter is in its infancy and its use will grow significantly over the next few years. In contrast, 21% believe Twitter will not move into the mainstream and it will remain something mostly young people and the media will use.

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At the same time, just under one in five advertisers (17%) believe Twitter’s five minutes of fame are already over and it’s time to find the next big thing, while 17% of advertisers say they don’t know enough about Twitter to have an opinion on it.

Among consumers, the study found a different picture, especially in terms of awareness. A large majority (69%) say they do not know enough about Twitter to have an opinion about it, 12% think it’s in its infancy, 12% say it is just something that young people and the media use and 8% say it is already over.

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Age Differences Evident

As might be expected, there is an age divide on opinions of Twitter. Younger advertisers are more likely to have an opinion on Twitter than their older counterparts (only 11% of 18-39 year-olds do not know enough about Twitter to have an opinion, compared with 20% of advertisers ages 40-49 and 21% of advertisers ages 50+).

Among consumers, the same trend applies. Only half (55%) of adults ages 18-34 say they don’t know enough to have an opinion, compared with 80% of those ages 55+.

Effectiveness of Twitter

Among those who have an opinion about Twitter, feelings about the effectiveness of it for promoting products and ideas are lukewarm among both consumers and advertisers:

Among advertisers, just 8% say Twitter is very effective for promoting products and ideas while half (50%) say it is somewhat effective. One-third (34%) of advertisers say it is not that effective and 8% believe it is not at all effective for promoting products and ideas.

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Only 8% of consumers say Twitter is very effective for promoting ideas and products and 42% believe it is just somewhat effective. Three in ten (31%) consumers say Twitter is not that effective and 19% feel it is not at all effective for promoting products and ideas.

In commenting on the results, Harris Interactive said that Twitter’s effectiveness as a marketing tool will most likely hinge on consumer education “It is the advertisers and marketers who should play the lead role in promoting consumer education if they truly want to move Twitter beyond infancy and into its ‘tween years,'” the firm said in a press release.

These survey results are slightly more optiministic? than those from an earlier study by Ragan Communications that found half of communicators think Twitter is a fad.

About the study: The poll was conducted among 1,015 advertisers from agencies or corporations who are involved in the advertising decision making process surveyed online June 22 – 30, 2009, and 2,025 US adults surveyed online June 24 – 26, 2009.

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