November 21, 2012, 2:05 PM

Frequent Twitter users buy more online

Exposure to retailers’ tweets increases the likelihood of online purchases, Twitter says.

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Twitter users are more likely to buy online than other Internet users, according to a new report from marketing research firm Kantar Media Compete and Twitter. 95% of Twitter users between Aug. 1 and Oct. 14 visited retail web sites, compared with 90% of all Internet users.

Moreover, consumers who see retailers’ Twitter posts, or tweets, are more likely to buy online.

The report is based on an analysis of 2,000 consumers viewing Twitter on a PC who saw at least one retailer’s tweet between August and mid-October. The report found that 38.9% of consumers who viewed at least one retailer’s message subsequently made an online purchase during the study’s timeframe. That compares with 33.4% of a control group of Twitter users who did not see any retailers’ tweets and 26.9% of all U.S. Internet users.

The report also found that frequency matters—that is, the more consumers are exposed to tweets from retailers, the more likely they are to visit a retailer site and make a purchase.

As evidence of that, the report points to the following findings:

• 51.4% of consumers exposed to 12 or more tweets made a purchase on a retailer site (not necessarily the site of the retailer that sent a specific tweet).

• 45.9% of consumers exposed to five to 11 tweets bought online.

• 34.4% of consumers exposed to two to four tweets bought online.

• 33.4% of Twitter users who were not exposed to a retailer’s tweet bought an item online.

Those findings bode well for Twitter given that one of the microblogging service’s main advertising products is Promoted Tweets, which appear in a consumer’s timeline like any other tweet. Like a regular tweet, the messages appear in the timeline once. As the shopper scrolls, the Promoted Tweet flows with the rest of the tweets in her timeline. The main selling point of the ad format is that it increases the odds that consumers will see marketing messages.

Shoppers clicking from a retailer’s tweet to that merchant’s web site represent a big opportunity, wrote Taylor Schreiner, co-head of Twitter’s ad research division, in a blog post discussing the results. “Twitter users arrive on a retail web site with a higher intent to buy,” he wrote. “Make it easy for them. Include links in tweets that streamline the path to purchase and special offers that incentivize taking action.”

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