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On Twitter Brand Retweets Are Up but Original Posts Are Down. Is that Good News or Bad News?



To Tweet or ReTweet, that is the question. Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to speak to the world in words that are your own; Or to share the words already crafted by informed others and by not opposing them, give in to the trend?

A new study by Bazaarvoice says folks are now leaning more toward the reTweet than the Tweet but can you blame them? reTweeting is easy. It’s mindless. Whereas creating new Tweets takes time and thought.

This chart from The Conversation Index Volume 5 shows that the proportion of original brand Tweets (the turquoise shaded area) has dropped to 78% from 85% in 2010. Branded reTweets are on the rise (the dark bar). Just look at how far we’ve come since 2010. But is this a good thing or a bad thing?

On the good side, it’s nice to see people spreading the word. Every reTweet is the start of a new pool of potential customers. The downside is that reTweets get muddy with every hop. Most Tweets are too long to begin with so adding a comment in front of a reTweet means some of the original message will be truncated. If you put your links at the end, as most do, then you’re asking for that Tweet to spread without this critical information.

Many people simply RT without any added comments. It preserves the integrity of the original message but doesn’t inspire receivers to take note. It’s the difference between cutting an article out of the newspaper and mailing it to a friend, or mailing it along with your opinion of the article in a note. The opinion is going to push me to read the article more than the article itself.

When they do write an original post about a brand, only 51% will include a relevant link. That’s down from 68% in 2010. I’m surprised this number is as high as it is. Unless I’m pushing an affiliate link, I rarely bother to include a link when I Tweet about a product. I simply can’t see people taking that extra step, but the study says they do.

Tweeting and Searching Don’t Match

Here’s an interesting note:

Peaks in Twitter mentions for a brand resulted in either no positive impact or a decline in search interest (Google’s normalized indicator of “the likelihood of a random user to search for a particular search term” on a 0-100 scale).

Unpaid brand mentions (news pieces, etc.) in traditional media may be a great awareness mechanism but they don’t drive search behavior. The corollary, though, is a study by Efficient Frontier shows that paid television ad campaigns correlate to a 60%-80% bump in brand-name search during the life of the campaign.

Once again, my behavior is the exact opposite. If I see something trending on Twitter, I’m likely to turn to a search engine to find out more details. Especially, when the Tweets don’t carry links.

If you’re a Twitter marketer, I saved the best news for last. Time on Twitter is increasing. Time is up 19.7% from 2011 to 2012. Incredibly, Twitter page visits have 58.7%. This is a testament to Twitter’s push to get everyone off the third-party apps and on to their own site.

Want more information? Download the free Conversation Index Report from Bazaarvoice. You don’t even have to give them your email address, but I’m sure they’d appreciate it if you followed them on Twitter.