Topsy Update Reveals Geographic Information for Tweets

By Devon Glenn 

Less than 2 percent of Twitter users reveal their locations when they Tweet, but Topsy says it can pinpoint the origin for 95 percent of Tweets nationwide. Today, the social analytics company has released an update to its geo-inference tool for marketing at the local level.

Brands and agencies can use the tool to optimize Promoted Tweets with more accurate location data, to react in real time to local events, and to identify emerging markets or places where their competitors are struggling.

Topsy is one of few companies that has access to Twitter’s entire firehose of data. It sifts through 450 million Tweets every 24 hours, and geo-encodes each Tweet in real time.

Using information from users’ profiles, language, Tweet text, use of local websites, and other signals, Topsy can determine with 90 percent certainty where the Tweet has come from, even if the user hasn’t opted to share their latitude and longitude through the GPS on their mobile devices.

In addition to being able to accurately place 95 percent of Tweets at the national level, Topsy says it can identify 50 percent of tweets by state, 30 percent of tweets by county, and more than 25 percent of Tweets by city.

David Shaw, associate director of social strategy at digital marketing agency Resource, said that his company uses Topsy’s geo-inference capability as part of its own social listening center, iCitizen Live, in order to “tailor our clients’ marketing messages and tactics to fit the local market.”

“Twitter is used throughout the world as a way to converse and share information, and analysis of those conversations has proved immensely valuable to brands and agencies,” said Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, co-founder and chief scientist at Topsy in a statement. “Our updated geo-inference model continues to push the envelope with what is possible with enhanced geographic information. Now you can monitor whichever portion of the world’s largest conversation is most relevant to you.”