October 31, 2012, 9:18 AM

Bazaarvoice Releases Conversation Index Volume 5 for Twitter

Bazaarvoice reveals patterns and relationships at the intersection of social data, traditional media, and business performance, offering new insight to help marketers understand how they can capture and use social data to drive their business.

AUSTIN, Texas – Oct. 18, 2012 – Bazaarvoice (NASDAQ: BV) today released The Conversation Index Volume 5, a new research study that investigates Twitter’s role and influence in brand-related conversations. In the latest volume of its quarterly research series, Bazaarvoice reveals patterns and relationships at the intersection of social data, traditional media, and business performance, offering new insight to help marketers understand how they can capture and use social data to drive their business.

The Conversation Index Volume 5 not only identifies how consumers use Twitter to talk about brands, but also illustrates social's connections to both routine and major events. The report is based on an analysis of 26 million tweets, each of which mentioned at least one of 13 brands from the BrandZ Global 100 Brands list, including Adidas, Clinique, Colgate, Gillette, Hugo Boss, Nike, Pampers, Pepsi, Ralph Lauren, Samsung, Intel, Tesco, and Sony. This data was then compared with more than 8,000 TV and radio mentions, 17 months of stock price data, more than a year-and-a-half of Google search data, and 270,000 pieces of consumer-generated content from online reviews—all for the same 13 brands. Key findings include:

Stock prices move with Twitter mentions

The Bazaarvoice analysis found a remarkably high positive correlation between stock performance and the volume of tweets with brand mentions. In particular:

  • High Twitter volume tends to coincide with high closing price. The same triggers that make stocks move upward tend to make social chatter spike.
  • Somewhat counter-intuitively, the factors that typically send a stock downward tend not to spur an increase in conversations on Twitter. Rather, a brand’s buzz on Twitter tends to decline as its stock falls.
  • Product reviews mention price more often when consumer confidence is low. Likewise, price mentions fall as the Dow Industrial Average rises, and they rise as the Dow falls.

Twitter evolves from portal to destination

The Conversation Index highlights that Twitter is used differently than other social channels and its data should be used differently, too. For example, a comparison of tweets, search terms, and reviews related to Adidas shows:  

  • Twitter users tend to reveal their personal interactions with brands. They mention what “new” products they’re wearing “today” and use words such as “my” and “I.”
  • Comparison shopping begins in the search box. Top search terms tend to be at the level of product lines and categories. Specific products were mentioned in only three of the top 20 “Adidas” search terms, which also included competing brands.
  • Reviews are a rich social data source for product-level insights. Since they typically are tied to a specific product, reviews tend to focus on specific product qualities, adjectives and other expressions of sentiment.

Moreover, the proportion of brand-oriented Tweets that include a link is decreasing—from 68% in 2010 and 55% in 2011 to 51% in the first half of 2012—an indication that users are increasingly talking about brands instead of just pointing to what they bought or want to buy.

Brand mentions in Twitter lag behind overall Twitter growth

While content about brands on Twitter is becoming increasingly conversational, the Bazaarvoice analysis shows that less of the conversation is about them:

  • The volume of tweets per day has grown 143% from 2011 to 2012; however, mentions of brands on Twitter have grown 113% in the same period.
  • Original tweets about brands are declining while retweeted brand mentions are on the rise. Highlighting both the speed at which information travels on Twitter and the increasing redundancy of that information, the proportion of original tweets with brand mentions has fallen from 85% in 2010 to 82% in 2011 and 78% to this point in 2012.

Search interest doesn’t correlate to Twitter mentions, stock performance, or TV and radio coverage

While it may seem that people tweet what’s top of mind, they’re not tweeting about what they’re searching for. Similarly, unpaid media coverage does not appear to produce a corresponding bump in search interest. To these points, the research found:

  • 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

Comments on the News

  • “Just a few years ago, the terms ‘in-store’ and ‘online’ gave us a clear, differentiated way to talk about channels,” said Brett Hurt, founder and CEO of Bazaarvoice. “But as channels converged, the terms no longer accurately described the way that people actually shop. The same is true of social—and everything it touches. Convergence is the place that Bazaarvoice, ‘the voice of the marketplace,’ has called home since 2005 and we are committed to using social data to unlock the predictive relationships that will transform marketing and business for the better.”
  • “Social data offers a critical new stream of insights for brands and the industry. The social ecosystem is broad; conversations happen on brand sites and on social channels, across an ever-increasing set of devices," said Erin Nelson, CMO of Bazaarvoice. "As social content and data expands, so does the scope of our knowledge about how it both influences and mirrors activity across the digital and physical worlds. Sharing these insights with our clients and the industry is the driving force behind The Conversation Index."

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