News brands profit from Twitter users and vice versa

A study that consisted of a landscape audit, investigating YouGov’s database of Twitter users identified how people are using Twitter and the role of news brands within that. The study was followed by a multi-dimensional qualitative phase, which used analytics, online diaries, telephone interviews, Twitter profiling and in-depth video interviews, as well as a quantitative survey among more than 1,200 Twitter users.

The total sample size was 1266 UK Twitter users. Field work was undertaken from 5 December 2013 – 18 December 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of UK Twitter users.

The survey showed that 59% of Twitter’s 15 million users in the UK follow newspaper brands, 62% believe news on Twitter should be verified by a respected news brand and 60% of news brand followers say Twitter gives them the opportunity to engage with newspaper brands they would not normally read in print.

Furthermore, the survey showed that news brand followers are more active, being 60% more likely to visit Twitter daily and twice as likely (109%) to tweet daily than non-news brand followers. They are a more affluent, educated and upmarket audience that is four times more likely to post links to articles and three times more likely to tweet about trending news topics.

Newsworks conducted the survey in partnership with Twitter.

The survey more or less confirms what Adam Wexler at the Huffington Post said in an article of February 2014: “If you really want to make the most of Twitter, you should treat it like a typical newspaper.” Although from the survey it seems most people will use Twitter to discover breaking news and follow news brands and journalists to stay up to date on current affairs. They rely on the news brands themselves to provide more detailed information and analysis, with 75% of news brand followers saying that Twitter is an important link to more in-depth content.

News brands also play an important role in verifying news stories – with 62% of news brand or sub-brand followers saying it’s important that news on Twitter is “verified by a respected brand”.