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Published October 25th 2012

Brands on Twitter Research Informs Product Development

Our approach to updating and improving our product is a serious and considered process. We’ve experimented with a number of different techniques, and this post will unveil a sneak peek behind the curtain as to how things are done at Brandwatch.

Whether it’s using democratic shared voting documents among staff, having board members and product managers determine the next direction, or even opening up our road map to clients and other external stakeholders, we like to ensure that the way Brandwatch is being built is the best way and that we’re headed on the right course.

It’s this (partially secret) mix of techniques that allows us to remain both valuable to clients and still pioneering of cutting-edge innovations.

Sometimes this approach leads to us undertaking research into the viability of developing different features, which is exactly what happened when we were investigating whether we should be developing an engagement console or continue on our path of leading the fields of .

We wanted to know how brands were using Twitter, and whether if we offered more substantial engagement features – we already offer Twitter and Facebook publication and response from in the app – those proposed features would be used.

Read our full report into brands’ use of Twitter here. 

Our subsequent findings that resulted from the report suggested that the console was not worth investing our resources into developing.

We evaluated which platforms big brands were using to manage their Twitter accounts, and it was surprising to discover that the most popular method was actually to use the Twitter web interface.

Understanding that brands were still regularly not using any third-party software to tweet was an excellent insight for our development roadmap, though it was also interesting to note that the most popular tool was Hootsuite, followed by other low-cost lightweight tools, leaving the enterprise tools languishing at the bottom.

 

It transpired that the monitoring tools with engagement facilities – such as Radian6, the largest company in our sector – were simply not being used: just 8% of Radian6’s advertised clients use the tool for engagement.

The research ended up being so interesting that we decided to make it public-friendly and released it last week, so that anyone can read what we discovered.

It’s dangerous ground to publish seemingly aggressive material about your competitors, but this isn’t our intention at all. We have a great deal of respect for our competitors, especially Radian6, and this research was no indictment on them; rather it’s an accurate reflection that enterprise monitoring tools, including us, are not being used for engagement very often.

Other revelations to transpire from the report are that brands are improving in their use of Twitter since 2011, with 75% of brands now using the platform for both engagement and broadcast: the most effective approach in our opinion.

Other insights in the report reveal that brands have more accounts than last year, with one third of brands owning multiple handles to better distribute their Twitter presence.

Perhaps surprisingly, brands tweet less frequently than they did in 2011. Also, around 10% of the brands we evaluated still did not use the platform at all.

One key finding from our report is that 59% of brands switched tool in the past 12 months. If you’re familiar with Brandwatch, you’ll know that we’re restless and never rest on our laurels. This data confirms that although this research is valid now, it also illustrates the rapid rate of change in our industry and serves as a warning sign that everything could change in the future.

We’ll continue to watch this space and we invite you to too, so you can try and predict what’s next in our industry and keep tabs on our continuing efforts to remain at the leading edge of social media monitoring and analytics.

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