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James McCombe 

Twitter on the move: profiling the mobile audience

TGI logoIn our latest research focus article, TGI'sJames McCombe says from a marketing point of view mobile Twitterers are an attractive target in their own right...

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo revealed this month that two in five tweets are now made via mobile. The latest TGI MobiLens data shows that 4.6 million British people visit Twitter on a monthly basis, and 460,000 access the site through a mobile device.

Although it may be a stretch to suggest that, in Britain, 10% of Twitter visitors account for 40% of tweets, we can probably assume that the mobile audience is more vocal than its non-mobile counterpart.

Who are they?

The general adult Twitter audience in Britain comprises more men than women, according to TGI, with a 56:44 gender split. This imbalance largely disappears among the mobile audience, and although the two groups share a median age of 30, the mobile audience includes more 25-34s (37% of the total) and fewer 15-24s (30% of the total).

As a result, the mobile Twitter audience includes a higher proportion of full-time workers (45% vs 41%) and a lower proportion of full-time students (10% vs 13%). The mobile audience is also more metropolitan - 27% live in Greater London, compared to only 18% of general visitors to the site.


TGI demographics


Overall, Twitter visitors are 68% more likely to agree that celebrities influence their purchase decisions and 58% more likely to 'buy new products before most of their friends'. Although members of the mobile audience are even more likely (+66%) to think of themselves as early adopters, they differ to the extent of being no more likely than the average internet user to agree that celebrities influence their purchase decision-making.

Mobile Twitterers (not all of them tweet) also tend to be more ambitious and driven. Individuals are 94% more likely than the average internet user to agree they are willing to sacrifice time with their family in order to get ahead, and 76% more likely to agree they like to have control over people and resources. 45% 'like' taking risks, compared to 34% of the wider Twitter audience and only 25% of adults online.


Since the mobile Twitter audience appears less susceptible to celebrity endorsement, we might assume they are also less receptive to advertising. However, TGI MobiLens data suggests the opposite. Approaching a third (31%) of the mobile Twitter audience admit advertising helps them choose what they buy, compared to 23% of the wider Twitter audience and 19% of internet users.

Mobile Twitter visitors are more likely than the general Twitter audience to 'often' notice advertisements on the internet (40% vs 36%), but their extra receptivity does not end there. They are also more likely to find TV adverts interesting and more likely to notice the advertising in print media. From a marketing point of view mobile Twitterers are an attractive target in their own right, even before taking into account their potential for relaying commercial messages virally.

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