Warning: The following article was written by a massive data analytics geek. Proceed at your own risk. 

For as long as I can remember I’ve had an insatiable thirst to understand the world around me. I always want to know the whole story. For awhile I actually thought about going into journalism so that I could be first on the scene to get everyone’s accounts. Social media, therefore, is a perfect match for me. I can piece together an understanding of how people relate to the world around them and what they care about by looking at what they share (and what they choose not to share). Data analytics provide me with the tools to get at these stories which is why I get absurdly excited when I come across a new way to access more data. This is why the updates in the Twitter Follower Analytics tool- “Audience Insights- has sent me clear over the moon.

Previously Twitter broke down your followers according to geography, most common interests, who else they follow and gender. For other tools a more indepth look at your audience focuses on when they tweet, who they tweet with, etc. All very content driven. Other than basic demographic markers such as location and gender (neither of which are required), we have to rely on content to paint a picture of who our audience is and what they care about. That’s why social listening is so important. How else are you going to figure this out?

At least that’s what I would have told you yesterday. Before Twitter made its Great Leap Forward. And no I’m not exaggerating. Just look at this analysis of my audience:

Overall Audience Analysis

(Now let’s be clear- we have yet to hear the basis for these findings such as sample size, what “match rate” means, or even how this data got calculated. But I do know the reputation of Twitter Analytics as well as some of the individuals who work there and I feel confident that these are genuine insights and as such are a massive advance in social strategy.)

This is an insane amount of detail. I really like the ability to compare my audience against the entire Twitter audience. When doing a strategy it’s important for me to put myself outside of my highly technical world. Just look at the difference between my followers and the overall Twitter population when it comes to Marketing as an interest- 81%. That’s huge. Compare that, however, to Business News and General Info- 52% difference. That means that if I’m looking to increase my external following it would behoove me to think about tweeting some more general business stuff as oppossed to purely niche marketing studies. That’s highly valuable information.

But the data that I think is the most groundbreaking is the Consumer Behavior tab:

Twitter Consumer Behavior

This is a total treasure trove of information. (Once again I’m dying to know how they’re calculating all of this. I also want to know what they mean by “Ethnic Explorers” and the rest of those categories.) This data is available in reports but in “the average user is more likely to do X than Y”. Having it in a quantifiable form is a major breakthrough. In particular this is going to be amazing for Influencer Marketing by allowing us to craft highly individualized strategies based on what a person’s audience is actually interested rather than what you hypothesize they’re interested in- or what the person themselves believe their audience to be interested in.

Of course this assumes that we’ll be able to get this level of analysis for other people’s accounts rather than simply our own and whether Twitter will release this level of data to their analytics partners and that’s a big IF. But regardless I believe that by giving us this additional level of data today Twitter has demonstrated what the future of social strategy can and will be.

And for a data geek it’s a beautiful and exciting thing.

Have you checked out your Twitter Audience Insights yet? What do you think? Did anything surprise you? Tweet me @suzimcc! 

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