Big Brother Is Watching…Oh…Never mind…It’s Just Twitter

August 9th, 2016

Twitter “officially” opens its data platform, Gnip, so brands can get analytics on demographics and interest data about those who visit their sites or view their tweets. 

No…it’s not “Big Brother” that’s keeping a tab on all of your Twitter activities.  The social media platform just recognized how valuable their data can be for businesses (shocker).

So of course Twitter does have quite a bit of information about us stockpiled in their databases, but we’re talking some basic stuff here.  Gender, language, the type of music you like, what major city you’re in, cell service provider, you first crush, first kiss, when the last time you went to the bathroom was (guess which of those aren’t really being tracked).  Now, through Twitter’s Audience API system, brands can have easier access to that wealth of information.

As for now, Twitter isn’t expanding to any new interest data types that weren’t already a part of the API beta period.  The data points brands will be able to analyze will likely be:

Location: This analytic will allow brands an opportunity to figure out where their audiences are on the globe.  From what country that person resides, all the way down to what specific market area they live.  This information is garnered from Twitter’s ability to locate an individual through a web IP address, GPS signal, Wi-Fi signal, and location (if attached) to a person’s tweets.  By knowing their geographic market area, companies can invest resources strategically and offer specialty items dependent on the area’s needs.

Language:  Filtered from someone’s Twitter language setting and the actual language they write in when tweeting, this data point breaks down what percentages of their audience speaks a certain language.  Look for brands to utilize this to promote their products appropriately, rather than a hit-or-miss system.

Gender:  Gnip will provide interested brands with information about a market’s female and male percentages.  Though definitely not a bullet-proof scheme, Twitter currently assumes gender based on profile names, the accounts they follow, and then do some cross-referencing analysis.  Again, not anything groundbreaking, but such data can be optimized for sales and marketing.

Interests: Whenever you decide to follow a specific company or your favorite band, or ‘like’ every @cobal_digital tweet, then Twitter will begin to group you into defined bands dependent on those likes.  So you might fall under an audience of sports, music, and My Little Pony, and then under a sub-category of basketball and Bronies (yes we know you’re out there).  Naturally, if a company – let’s say like Nike – has you in their scopes because of this data, then they can target ads and offerings more effectively.

TV:  Again, not a completely accurate representation of the various genre-specific demographics, but Twitter is offering brands an estimate based on tweets, who people are following, and what tweets are receiving attention.  No news is…well…bad news.  Brands will definitely seek to enhance their TV presence with this info.

Now to answer the question that’s probably on your mind.

No, Twitter is not giving out specific information about individuals, such as Edward Sanchez and the fact he still sleeps with a night light (not true).  Anonymity is the key word, and data will be aggregated into groups of at least 500 accounts.  And the reality is that this information is only useful when it takes into account a large population.

But when it does make sense to interpret this information, brands will be able to get a better understanding of their market and make adjustments to their approach.

Though the API system as been available since October 2015, it’s current incarnation is easier to use.  Information can be pulled about anyone, so long as they follow a specific Twitter account, signed up for newsletters, or visited a site.

Data can also be drawn from those who already on a given brand’s customer database.  This provides for some very in-depth analysis.  Brands will be able to create various bands of audience segments without having IDs, as well as draw data from anyone who was shown an unpaid tweet within the past 90 days, or whoever engaged with a brand’s tweet by clicking on it, liking it, or retweeting it.

It’s definitely going to take some meaningful analysis for brands to fully benefit from Twitter’s Audience API system, but in today’s fast paced world, that egg will be cracked relatively soon.

And if you want to be one of these organizations on the cutting-edge of social media, tech, and marketing, then look no further than Cobalt Digital.  We stay on top of the ever changing landscape and thrive on facing new environments.

Follow us on Twitter @cobalt_digital to stay up on the latest news.