Twitter Not Top Spot for Influencing Holiday Shoppers

Twitter Not Top Spot For Influencing Holiday Shoppers

A Twitter-commissioned report last holiday season indicated that the platform was a top spot for holiday shopping referrals. But a new study by PunchTab kinda blows that idea out of the water (que visual of fail whale parts flying everywhere).

The report surveyed 2,000 U.S. holiday shoppers and, as admitted in the report, more than half of them used Twitter regularly, so the results were naturally a bit skewed. But two stats – sharing that 64% of respondents bought a product because of something they saw on Twitter and 57% use Twitter to determine which stores to visit – gives the impression (skewed or no) that Twitter was great for brands last year, so it follows that it MUST be a great place to advertise your brand THIS holiday season, yes?

Maybe not.

PunchTab just published a report surveying U.S. shoppers who were not committed to any particular medium, and out of the six most frequented social media sites, Twitter came in fourth, behind Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, ahead of only Yelp and YouTube. The other two categories were “None of the Above” and “Other.”

The real winner in this scientifically constructed contest? “None of the Above,” which was claimed by a whopping 67% of consumers, collectively speaking. If this was a poll for a political campaign, some heads would be rolling right now on all sides of the spectrum.

When the numbers are divided amongst demographics  – Baby Boomers, Gen X, and Millennials, the three basic food groups marketers devour for nutrition these days – Boomers naturally lag in all categories except None of the Above. This makes sense, since 70% of all Boomers say they won’t be hunting for any shopping tips via social media this season, though 90% of respondents claim they will do at least some shopping online.

But the way they find out about what to buy, and where, differs as you descend the chronological ladder.

Focusing on our Number Four category, only 2% of Boomers will tweet their way through Christmas. Pretty dismal, right? But that’s not their medium, you say. Twitter is a youthful domain. If you’re guessing Gen X and Millennials will be casting their lines for deals and ideas via Twitter much more than their parents and grandparents…think again. Yes, they’ll be there more. Just not much more.

Of Gen X respondents in this survey: 4%. Millennials? 6%. Yes, that represents an incremental increase of 50% per each generation, top to bottom (age before beauty, sorry). But when you’re starting with only a 2% number…that pretty much sucks. In any context.

Contrast that with Facebook, which commands a much greater portion of each generation’s yuletide reconnaissance: Boomers 14%, Gen X only slightly ahead at 18%, and Millennials widening the gap significantly at 26%.

Does this mean Twitter is deader than your Halloween pumpkin this holiday season? Not at all. It’s very user friendly. But only for certain users at certain times. It’s simply not the number one choice for any demographic when it comes to virtual browsing.

But even Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer was rejected by his community until he was tapped to front Santa’s sleigh. So there’s always hope Twitter may one day be the leader of the holiday pack, too. Some day.

Want more stats to support that social media holiday spend? Check out PunchTab’s full report here.

Mary C. Long is Chief Ghost at Digital Media Ghost where she ghostwrites and helps clients win online using digital strategies you’ve yet to consider. She has particular expertise in advising law firms and schools on social sabotage and how to avoid it.