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Is Twitter worth its reported $1 billion valuation? The verdict’s still out on that. But independent research keeps coming in that details how valuable the social utility’s users could potentially be to advertisers. The latest, from tech and media research firm Interpret, shows that Twitter users are twice as likely to engage with brands — in multiple ways — than other social network users.
Interpret surveyed over 9,200 internet users in August, finding that roughly 24 percent of the respondents that used Twitter, reviewed or rated products online; just 12 percent of people that used other social nets — but not Twitter — said the same. Twitter users were also more likely to visit company profiles (20 percent) than non-Twitter users (11 percent), and twice as likely to click on ads or sponsored links (20 percent vs. 9 percent).
The higher rates of engagement with brands could stem from a number of factors. First, people aren’t spending as much time doing activities (commenting on photos, chatting, playing games) on Twitter, so they could be more apt to click on an ad that would take them away from the site. In contrast, it’s been proven that most ads on Facebook, MySpace and other social networks, fail to garner high click-throughs or other interactions, simply because users don’t want to have their experience interrupted.
Twitter is also built to be an information stream, not a destination; users share bit.ly links that generate over a billion clicks each month, and also mention specific brands or products in roughly 20 percent of their updates.
But what’s still up in the air — and likely an even more pressing issue now, with a potential $100 million investment on the horizon — is whether Twitter can turn these advertising-friendly users into revenue. (The startup has some plans for ads, but is more focused on making money from premium accounts). Still, companies like Glam Media, 12seconds and others have already figured out how to do it, and largely without splitting any of the revenue with Twitter itself.