New Twitter Research Highlights the Potential of Tweet Monitoring
Twitter data can unlock a range of powerful insights - right now, tweet insights are used to track earthquake activity, to predict crime, to monitor flood damage to better focus relief work. The power of Twitter's real-time stream is far more significant than most realize. Yes, the platform's great for tweeting about the latest TV show or sharing memes, but there's also a key, functional value in tweets, a utility which takes it beyond those surface behaviors.
That value is significant, and can be of great benefit to those businesses that are able to tap into the stream and identify the key data points. The challenge is in just that - identifying the signals amidst the noise - but as the noted examples show, the value is there.
The public nature of the platform also makes this data widely accessible - similar trends would exist on Facebook, but they're much harder to extract, while Twitter's focus on breaking news-type insights also makes it more valuable for this purpose in many respects.
But as noted, many people wouldn't realize this, because Twitter doesn't go out of its way to promote such use cases. But there's a reason why Twitter's data-based revenue has climbed 17% year-on-year.
This week, Twitter's started a new blog series to highlight this, looking at how tweets, and tweet data, can impact financial markets.
As explained by Twitter:
"We often receive questions about how Twitter's developer partners are using Twitter Data to modernize the investment decision-making process. While there are countless ways in which they have innovated using Twitter Data over the past 10 years, we thought it would be helpful to hear from some of Twitter's most trusted finance partners directly."
And while not everyone works in the finance sector, the lessons provided on how tweets are used provide some interesting food for thought. Maybe you won't be buying and selling stocks as a result of such insights, but they might get you thinking about how you can use similar approaches to better focus your marketing and outreach efforts.
A great example relates to Westar Energy, and how breaking news on Twitter immediately impacted the company's share price.
"Twitter is a powerful outlet for regional news and reporters, and is frequently the source for breaking market moving content. In this case a local Kansas reporter covering a court case impacting the merger of Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy tweeted the following directly from the courtroom. Shortly thereafter Westar Energy dropped 4.5% post-market, and the following day it fell as much as 7.7% on the New York Stock Exchange"
Use of breaking news in this way is nothing new, but the fact that Twitter connects users to such a wide array of real-time sources means this process is now more widely available - those who aren't paying attention can quickly miss the boat and lose out.
A similar incident happened a few years back when Dataminr used tweet data to alert their clients to reports of an illness outbreak on-board a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, which sent the stock price down.
As explained in this post on Fast Company:
"On March 8, a Royal Caribbean cruise ship arrived in Port Everglades, Florida, with 105 passengers and three crew members sick with norovirus. When that news broke, it sent Royal Carribean Cruises Ltd. Share prices tumbling by 2.9%. But Dataminr clients had the news 48 minutes earlier."
Through clever utilization of Twitter data, Dataminr, and other analytics providers, are able to locate such insights by correlating Twitter happenings with specific stocks, in real-time. But what's more, those insights are not nearly as complex as you might imagine - the linkage between a disease outbreak on a Royal Caribbean ship and a subsequent decline in their stock price makes perfect, logical sense. It's only the fact that these analytics providers are listening in to the right keywords that they're able to tap into that insight.
It's not the breadth of data you can access, it's the specific mentions that yield real potential.
And this is where the true value of Twitter data lies.
As noted, while investing in stocks might not be your thing, investing in your business is, and if tweets like this can send the stock price falling, what do you think happens to your brand value when you're not listening in and responding to relevant mentions?
On one hand, this highlights the clear value of social listening, in terms of catching a potential crisis before it blows up. In the modern, social media age, you can't expect to contain bad news or that poor reviews and word-of-mouth will be contained. People have more ways than ever to get their voice heard - it's important that you're aware of the potential impacts of what's being said about your business and industry, which makes social listening a key practice.
But the other key element to keep in mind is the potential of listening in to the right conversations, of tracking the right keywords and data points to detect opportunities and capitalize on them in real-time. Not everyone can do this, of course, you can't be monitoring Twitter 24/7, but by setting up search streams in TweetDeck or Hootsuite, you can ensure you're across all the relevant mentions that can lead to you capitalizing on the ever-moving tweet stream.
But you can't stop at simple search terms - you can't just add in a search for your brand name and leave it at that. You need to conduct research into how your key terms are being discussed - in your local region and more widely. You need to understand what questions people are asking, what responses they're getting from others, and specifically, what tweets lead people to businesses like yours.
It takes some work to establish the right connections, but once you do, you can set up complex tweet search strings that will highlight just the right mentions that you need to know about, ensuring you're capitalizing on all opportunities and are aware of key discussions.
The focus of Twitter's report is the financial sector and how tweets help in their process, but the example highlights the power of tweets for predictive, business purposes.
It's worth considering how such capacity can be used to keep your marketing ahead of the game.
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter