The Changing Face of Twitter: How Brands can use Twitter for New Analytics

With a large population bringing their opinions and comments online, the variety of topics that drive everyday conversation follow. Twitter has taken the popularity of SMS messaging and made it available to the digital community. However with recent data stating that over 75% of Twitter’s users accessing it through means other than Twitter’s website, it’s clear that the conversations are taking place through a number of mediums. The open-sourced nature of Twitter allows for search through an endless body of text to pull keywords and other information easily. Many sites have created a full system of analytics for Twitter users, like Tweetstats, Twitterholic and more. However this also opens up the possibility to track in real-time conversation areas of particular keywords. This article will look at the sites using this technology, specifically the Brand Bowl, NBC’s 2010 Winter Olympic Twitter Tracker, and Crispin Porter + Bogusky new homepage. These websites have added to this “changing face” of Twitter. Their graphical interfaces create a new and interactive way to track Twitter, giving brands a unique real-time view of web chatter surrounding a product or brand.


The Super Bowl has traditionally been one of the most talked-about events of the year, and with the Internet replacing the water cooler, there opens the floodgates for reaction to the game itself, but even more about the commercials. The Brand Bowl was created by advertising agency Mullen, and social media firm Radian6. It offered realtime measurement of the twitter buzz surrounding the ads as they were aired. First they tallied tweets about each brand, and then they looked at the opinions stated in those tweets to calculate a “net sentiment” score. The purpose of this score was to measure whether the overall public reaction to a brand is positive or negative. The net sentiment score is derived by the formula: (Positive tweets – Negative tweets) / Total brand tweet. Finally, to rank the brands, they calculated a BrandBowl score by evaluating the non-negative share of each brand relative to all brands: (Positive tweets + Neutral tweets – Negative tweets) / Total tweets for all brands. Taking the tweets they developed a unique graphics representation that was a football field, with the different brands laid out. Top tweeted brands took the field, while others were stuck in the locker room. Here, conversation was invited. There were featured commentators from ad agencies around the globe commenting on the commercials as they played out. Many of the participants had spots themselves airing as they tweeted about other’s commercials. Using the hashtag #brandbowl they were able to display these comments in a single place for people looking to see what the talk was surrounding the advertising in the Super Bowl. The communication generated among people is two-fold…we see people reacting to ads, and then immediate reaction to the reaction of ads. Top “scoring” brands were Doritos and Google, though brands like McDonalds and Dr. Pepper had positive responses.


The Winter Olympic provided another captivating event for the whole world to discuss. Using technology provided by Stamen Design, the Olympics monitored the topics people discussed, and laid it out graphically where the dominant topic took a dominant share of a “topic grid.” This took all the emotion from the world and laid it out in another new and exciting way. As you click on the bigger groups, they reveal smaller subcategories from keywords. During the finals of Men’s Hockey, fans expressed their love, and hate for Canada’s Sidney Crosby. This promoted additional dialogue among fans, and with the aura surrounding the Olympics, pitted countries against each other in a fun Twitter shouting match, that normally would have taken place within the confines of the stadium anyway. Using Twitter to track popularity, as well as real time comments are great for an entertainment company like NBC, who can also tailor what kinds of entertainment to put on, especially when an event like the Olympics is broadcast across multiple platforms.


The brilliant minds behind some of the most famous ad campaigns of the last decade have created a new way for their clients to track brand awareness, right on the agency’s homepage. Unlike the previous two dashboards that were graphic representations of Tweets, CP+B’s client page has all the feeds aggregated from Youtube, Twitter, as well as the bloggersphere. Negative tweets are shown alongside video parodies of commercials, alongside the real commercials CP+B made themselves. This invites communication about all there clients to be front and center. Their newest client, Domino’s pizza, has been reinventing themselves as a pizza company who listens to their customers. Comments on the new pizza have been good and bad, however CP+B’s site offers the space for the words to speak for themselves. This openness isn’t just limited to user-generated content alone, there are also selected articles backing up each campaign from various reputable media outlets. Looking at the bottom of the page reveals a little message that speaks to the nature of their company, as well as their thoughts on the ever-changing world of digital architecture:

“We like sharing. If we wanted to keep things to ourselves, we wouldn’t have built a site that shows you the nasty things people say about us alongside all the nice stuff. In fact, we like sharing so much we’re even going to share this site with you by making Newd™, the code behind, open source. Do with it what you like. Build a website for yourself. Add a module to your existing site. Or, if you’re into sharing too, maybe you want to develop a new module for our site. We can’t promise we’ll use it. But if it’s amazing, we promise we’ll be amazed. Because besides sharing, we also like really smart people.”


Twitter offers a great ability for news, information, and conversation to fly by the world. Users can pick and choose what content they want to stop and read if it interests them, and with real-time interaction through mobile and web applications, create their own media outlet. With the ability to bounce ideas and comments in real-time, we can monitor the status of a particular topic, brand, or company. Companies like Best Buy and Dunkin Donuts are driving instate visits through digital communication. What we need to recognize as advertisers and even just active brand advocates is that there will be a dialogue between consumers regardless of what medium is currently popular. With these new opportunities of expression, we have the ability to track what people are talking about, and how they’re responding to certain things. While you could choose to take all this information and keep it internal, forward thinking brands are taking the info and presenting it right back to the consumers. By organizing information in different and unique ways, you can tailor the content around your brand or campaign’s big idea, further reinforcing the connection between idea and message. For the Brand Bowl, it was figuring out what commercials are triggering the most response, for the Olympics, it was about watching the pulse of the different events. I see this application taking the form of popularity charts. A company like Pandora could use tweets or other reactions to songs currently in rotation on the Pandora radio and create some kind of representation where artists gaining in exposure could be shown on their home site, to drive this continual consumer interaction.

As the web continues to change, the communication methods among people will change with them. However realizing that conversations are moving into the digital space and tapping into the extremely searchable social web can provide a new, more qualitative look into brand discussion.


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