FEATURE21 January 2016

The launch of Twitter

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The rise of the social media platform has allowed market researchers to tap into a new source of behaviour data explains Edwina Dunn in her look at changes in the 2000s.


Accurately gathering information about consumers’ needs and preferences no longer has to mean asking a question; it might include ‘looking over a shoulder’ online. 

In less than a decade, 320m people worldwide have signed up to Twitter. Suddenly, the likes, dislikes, passions and opinions of a vast and diverse range of the global population are available publicly. Twitter is one of the world’s fastest-growing open-data sources and is a goldmine of information about consumers. 

The connections people choose to make with influencers – such as brands, media and celebrities – unveil important information about them. And, since time on social media is given freely, these connections are a powerful window into how people live, or aspire to live. You are what you follow – what you’re passionate about.

Customer data is a rich source of insight. What are they spending time watching or thinking about? What mix of interests do people display? What’s in their digital shopping basket, across all their passions? Which communities do they ...