The debate is still out on Twitter’s effectiveness as a marketing tool, but new data from Penn State plays right into the company’s move to fully open users’ status updates to advertisers. Companies are already getting targeted, free advertising on Twitter, as the research found that 20 percent of all tweets — or one out of every five updates — mention specific brand names or products. (See recent tweets mentioning Sprint or Trader Joes, for example).
Researchers at Penn State’s College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) scanned through over 500,000 tweets for the study; the team found that one-out-of-every five updates were either requests (to friends, followers or the companies directly) for product info, or responses to these requests.
Sentiments about the companies and their products were both positive and negative; PSU associate professor Jim Jansen said he was actually surprised by the percentage of favorable comments.
As for the value of these branded tweets, it seems that there’s room to glean qualitative analysis about brand perception and affinity from them, at least. Jansen said micro-blogging could ultimately be on par with e-mail “in terms of its communication impact” for advertisers; the research team will continue to study Twitter and its impact on the business sector in order to form more concrete conclusions.