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2/13/2013
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Why Mobile Twitter Users Are Different

Here's what your business needs to know about Twitter users who favor a mobile device most of the time, according to new research.

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With the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, most people access social networks via mobile at least some of the time. But some people access social via mobile most of the time, and these users are unique in many ways, according to a new study by Twitter.

The study, conducted with Compete, found that primary mobile Twitter users in the United States are on the social network more often, interact more with Tweets and follow more brands than the average Twitter user.

[ How is Twitter protecting your account? Read Twitter Pursues Two-Factor Authentication After Password Breach. ]

In a post on the Twitter Advertising Blog, Taylor Schreiner, co-head of ad research, puts the study in context for companies doing business on Twitter. The BrainYard examined the findings through the lens of the "five Ws".

1. Who.

The study found that 18- to 34-year-olds are 52% more likely than "average" Twitter users to be logging into Twitter primarily via a mobile device. And 62% of mobile Twitter users communicate with people near them via the social network -- such as when they tweet a photo to a friend they are having lunch with. There was no statistically significant difference in the gender breakdown of primary mobile users of Twitter.

2. What.

Primary mobile users are 57% more likely to compose original Tweets than the average Twitter user. They are 63% more likely to click on links, 78% more likely to retweet and 85% more likely to favorite a Tweet. These uses also are 96% more likely to follow 11 or more brands, and 58% more likely to recall seeing an ad on Twitter. Fifteen percent access Twitter from a tablet device.

3. Where.

Primary mobile Twitter users tweet just about everywhere. They are three times more likely than average users to use Twitter during their commutes, and once they get to work or school, they are 160% more likely to keep using Twitter. They are twice as likely to use Twitter when they are out with friends, 169% more likely to use Twitter while shopping and 301% more likely to use Twitter before and after attending a movie than the average Twitter user. These users also tweet at home, with 66% using Twitter in front of the TV.

4. When.

Primary mobile users do it a lot. They are 86% more likely to be on Twitter several times a day than the average Twitter user. They are 157% more likely to use Twitter when they wake up and 129% more likely to use Twitter when going to sleep.

5. Why.

The why of accessing Twitter -- and, for that matter, Facebook and Pinterest and LinkedIn and Instagram and any number of other popular social networks -- via mobile platforms is changing and growing all the time. We're using them to, among other things, shop and learn and bank and work and play. That presents a big opportunity for companies doing business on social.

How are you optimizing your company's Twitter presence for mobile users? Please let us know in the comments section below.

Follow Deb Donston-Miller on Twitter at @debdonston.

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Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
2/15/2013 | 5:45:33 PM
re: Why Mobile Twitter Users Are Different
Yeah, I do the same thing-- flag some site that I want to look at later but then never get around to it. That issue aside, this article matches my own experience. On a computer, I use Twitter mostly as a firehouse of semi-reliable, up-to-the-minute news. On mobile, I'm much more likely to interact with others, comment on whatever I'm doing, etc. Twitter's come to fill a number of roles, but I've always found it particularly interesting as a real-time method for coordinating people via mobile devices-- flash mobs, protests, etc.

Michael Endler, InformationWeek Associate Editor
Deb Donston-Miller
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Deb Donston-Miller,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/15/2013 | 9:54:10 AM
re: Why Mobile Twitter Users Are Different
Thanks for the comment, Cara. I agree with you that mobile-first users' expectations are changing--whether they are mobile-first on Twitter or just in general. They expect to be able to use their mobile device to help do things more quickly and easily. When a site is not optimized for that experience, they have a harder time and will likely go elsewhere.

Deb Donston-Miller
Contributing Editor, The BrainYard

Cara Latham
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Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
2/14/2013 | 3:38:40 PM
re: Why Mobile Twitter Users Are Different
I'd have to agree with this assessment -- I frequently turn to Twitter as my social media network of choice while commuting. I follow my favorite brands and celebrities and click on the links they post -- just out of curiosity, since I am bored on the train. Frequently, I am disappointed when the link sends me to a non-mobile website. I may say to myself, "Remember to check that link out later when you get onto a computer." But I never get around to doing it because I am not actively seeking out Twitter on the computer and forget to check the link out when I am at home. So from a business perspective, brands have the best way of reaching me while I am on Twitter in the morning and evening on my commute -- trying to entertain myself while on the train. They are more likely to get a response from me if they provide that entertainment for me.
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