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Twitter Says Tweets Influence Online Shopping


In that rare bit of breathing space between back-to-school and holiday shopping, Twitter hired Compete to test the effectiveness of retail Tweets.

Their results were extremely positive and I believe them, but it’s my duty to remind you that Twitter paid for the survey, so make of that what you will.

To conduct the survey, they “observed” 2,600 US web surfers. Once group was exposed to Tweets from 700 retailers (wow!) including Amazon, Nike, and Walmart on Twitter.com. They compared those responses to two control groups (we are controlling the horizontal, we are controlling the vertical); one made up of people on Twitter.com who didn’t see any retail Tweets (how did they manage that!), and one group of general internet browsers.

Right off the bat they got an increase in retail web visits. Nice boost over the general internet browsing public, but not much of a boost over the control group. What I get from this is that Twitter users overall are more likely to shop online than non-Twitter users.

Next, we have this:

39% of Twitter users who saw retail Tweets made a purchase from a retail website. That’s not bad. And, it’s a bigger hike up over the control group but a really nice lift over the non-Twitter users.

The note that the lift was evident in every category they tested including apparel, health and beauty, toys, books, sports and more.

Here’s the big news, the more Tweets they saw, the more likely they were to visit and buy.

Look at this! One retail Tweet has a 36.3% conversion rate, but 12 Tweets translates into a 51.4% purchase rate. More than half the people who saw 12 or more retail Tweets bought a product online. I want to be careful here and say that the report doesn’t specify if they bought an item from the store they were exposed to or they just bought.

For example, I see 10 Tweets for Best Buy and 2 for Amazon, then I go and shop at Amazon.

Or is it: I see 12 Tweets from Best Buy then I bought something from Best Buy.

Maybe someone from Compete can clear this up for me.

Either way, it’s a pretty amazing stat. I’m a big Twitter fan but I don’t think it gets the credit it deserves for being a power hitter. Maybe these numbers will convince you. One caveat, though. What the stats don’t tell you is if there’s a saturation point. Surely, there’s a limit to the number of promotional Tweets your average person will tolerate. For me, my max is two a day from any one source. If they clever and space them properly, they could send ten but I’ll only see two because I don’t scan much beyond the front page for current Tweets.

What do you think? Is Twitter working for you?