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Twitter and the election: Revisiting predictions

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When the 2012 United States Republican presidential primaries and caucuses began back in January, we took a look at whether Twitter activity could be used as a predictor of the elections. We started tracking all tweets that mentioned any of a candidate’s Twitter accounts (personal and campaign) and based on the Twitter activity coming out of the Iowa caucuses, we saw that Twitter activity was less an indicator of the outcome, and more a reflection of the overall conversation happening around the candidate. Reach, exposure, and activity were largely driven by mentions by popular news and media accounts, many of which have significant numbers of followers and retweets.

Since January, the Twitter activity on the candidates has been staggering – some of the largest reach and exposure we’ve ever tracked, with over 8 million tweets from hundreds of thousands of contributors. These contributors reached more than 120 million unique Twitter accounts and generated almost 22 billion impressions.

Right before the Super Tuesday primaries in March, we launched the TweetReach Republican Primary Tracker which looked at the relationship between what people say on Twitter and what they do at the polls.  In the visualization, we mapped the number of unique Twitter users talking about a candidate to the y-axis, polling results to the x-axis, and tweet volume to the circle radius.

While, based on our previous analysis, we did not believe Twitter conversations could predict winners, we thought it would be interesting to see what tweets can tell us about how potential voters feel about the candidates. The visualizer confirmed that despite a candidate’s tweet volume, reach, and exposure on Twitter, these data were not a good predictor of election results. They are, however, a great way to understand how popular dialogue about a candidate translates into Twitter conversation.

Today, with Rick Santorum bowing out of the race, we took another look and found that Twitter conversation about Santorum had been relatively quiet since Super Tuesday but, as expected, spiked with today’s news as people came out of the woodwork to Tweet about the candidate.

In fact, a full 21% of Rick Santorum’s exposure since Super Tuesday (over 368 million impressions) occurred today after the announcement. When viewed with the TweetReach Republican Primary Tracker, the impact of the conversation around Santorum’s departure is even more pronounced.


We look forward to tracking the upcoming full election. In the meantime, we’d love to know what you think!

Written by Dean Cruse

April 10th, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Tracking tweets about the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards

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This weekend, we tracked tweets about the 47th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards. During the three-hour broadcast on Sunday, April 1, 2012, we tracked 214,407 tweets from more than 96K contributors that reached more than 43.5 million unique Twitter accounts. Tweet volume peaked at 3,686 tweets per minute during the show.

The most retweeted tweet of the night was from @Country_Words and received 1,397 retweets.

The most buzzed about Twitter moments from the ACM Awards show were:

  1. Song of the Year goes to Eli Young Band for “Crazy Girl”
  2. Entertainer of the Year goes to Taylor Swift
  3. Album of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert for “Four the Record”
  4. Vocal Group of the Year goes to Lady Antebellum
  5. Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Blake Shelton
  6. Single Record of the Year goes to Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson for “Don’t You Wanna Stay”
  7. New Artist of the Year goes to Scotty McCreery
  8. Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Miranda Lambert

Overall, thousands of tweets were posted about Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, and Reba McEntire. Shelton and McEntire were the show’s hosts, while Lambert and Swift were two of the night’s big winners. Finally, here’s the infographic we prepared for the 2012 ACMs (click to see full size).

What did you think? Did you watch? What was your favorite moment from the awards show?

Written by Jenn D

April 2nd, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Posted in Events

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A night at the Oscars: What did Twitter think about the 2012 Academy Awards?

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The 84th annual Academy Awards were held this weekend. As we’ve seen in years past, Twitter has a lot to say about the Academy Award winners, losers (non-winning nominees?), and the show in general.

This year, we tracked tweets about the Oscars – more than 2 million of them - throughout the show’s broadcast on Sunday, February 26, 2012, and collected them in our Academy Awards Twitter Explorer. Click around the explorer to see when tweets were posted about nominees in six of the main categories, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Actress. Or, read on for our take on what Twitter thought of the 2012 Academy Awards.

Twitter’s top ten favorite Oscar 2012 moments were, in order:

  1. Cirque du Soleil performance. The audience seemed entranced by the acrobatic dancers, and so did Twitter.
  2. Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help. She even got a standing ovation!
  3. Hugo wins for Best Visual Effects. And a bunch of other awards too, but this category generated the most tweets.
  4. Meryl Streep wins Best Actress for The Iron Lady. This is a bit of surprise, as many expected Viola Davis to win this category. Regardless, Meryl is lovely and thanks her hairdresser.
  5. The Artist wins Best Picture. No surprise whatsoever here. And everyone loves Uggie the dog.
  6. Zach Galifianakis and Will Ferrell present Best Original Song award to Bret McKenzie for The Muppets. Bret’s work in Flight of the Conchords makes him popular on Twitter. Not to mention, Zach and Will are pretty funny guys.
  7. Christopher Plummer wins Best Supporting Actor. At 82, he’s only two years younger than the Oscars themselves.
  8. Jennifer Lopez and her possible wardrobe malfunction. Was that a shadow or something else? Twitter seems to think it was not a shadow.
  9. Jean Dujardin wins Best Actor for The Artist. Another unsurprising win. Jean seems tickled to have won, and thanks the audience in French during his speech.
  10. Angelina Jolie presents Best Adapted Screenplay to The Descendants. Angie’s provocative pose and its subsequent imitation by Jim Rash (another Twitter favorite because of his role on Community) got a big laugh.

During the three-hour awards show, we tracked 2.05 million tweets about the Oscars, with the biggest spike at 18,718 tweets in one minute (during the Cirque du Soleil performance). These numbers are up quite a bit from last year, when the 2011 Oscars garnered 1.27 million tweets and a maximum spike of 11,780 tweets per minute.

The nominees with the most Twitter mentions during the show were:

  1. Meryl Streep – 74,793 tweets
  2. Octavia Spencer – 59,957
  3. Christopher Plummer – 41,107
  4. Jean Dujardin – 23,614
  5. Rooney Mara – 23,233
  6. Brad Pitt – 18,702
  7. Viola Davis – 17,651
  8. Woody Allen – 14,280
  9. George Clooney – 13,252
  10. Martin Scorsese – 11,328

The top three films nominated for Best Picture, by tweet volume:

  1. Hugo – 110,179 tweets
  2. The Artist – 78,509
  3. The Help – 23,585

For more information about our interactive explorer, read this blog post about how and what we tracked.

Written by Jenn D

February 26th, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Snowmobiles, snowboards and skis: A recap of tweets about Winter X Games 2012

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Last weekend, we worked with ESPN to track tweets about the 2012 Winter X Games in Aspen, Colorado, held January 26 through January 29, 2012. It was a big event, accumulating 171,373 tweets over the four days of competition!

During last summer’s X Games, we tracked 188K tweets from 97K contributors, for an overall reach of 37.7 million. This year’s Winter X Games generated 171K tweets from 100K contributors and an overall reach of 37.9 million. Two days into these games, here were the stats:

Sadly, freeskier and X Games gold medalist Sarah Burke died a week before the games. ESPN aired a tribute for Sarah on Thursday night and the #CelebrateSarah hashtag was used in more than 3,500 tweets during the games.

Sunday, January 29, was a big day for the games, featuring the final competitions for two fan favorites – the Snowmobile Best Trick and Men’s Snowboard Superpipe. Athletes like Heath Frisby, Shaun White, and Justin Hoyer generated a lot of Twitter buzz, and Heath’s first-ever snowmobile front flip resulted in the highest tweet spike of the entire games (1,634 tweets per minute).

By the end of the Winter X Games, the most retweeted tweet was from @espn and referred to snowboarder Shaun White’s perfect score in the Snowboard Superpipe Final. It got 1,428 retweets and generated 3.3 million impressions.

It was a great four days! We’re already looking forward to next year.

Written by Jenn D

February 1st, 2012 at 3:25 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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TweetReach is going to the Golden Globes

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We’re very excited to announce that we’re partnering with mhCarter Consulting and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to track tweets about the 69th Annual Golden Globe Awards on Sunday, January 15, 2012.

Jenn will be tweeting live from the event in Los Angeles on Sunday, and we’ll post the final Twitter analysis here on our blog next week.

Last year, we tracked tweets about the 2011 Golden Globe Awards. Glee dominated Twitter during last year’s show, generating the most retweets and highest spikes in conversation volume throughout the event. Other popular topics included The Social Network, Toy Story 3, The Big Bang Theory, Natalie Portman and Justin Bieber. Overall, we tracked 300,000 tweets with a reach of 31.5 million during the three-hour broadcast in 2011. The 2012 show is already on track to be much bigger.

The 68th Golden Globes were a lot of fun last year and we can’t wait to see what people will be tweeting about this year. Our early bets? Ricky Gervais will certainly cause a stir as the show’s host; he’s already generating a lot of buzz and averaging more than 300 retweets per tweet. Ryan Gosling has been the subject of hundreds of Tumblrs during the past few months and is nominated in two categories, so he’ll probably garner some attention at the event. Glee will likely make a strong showing again this year, as Twitter historically loves Glee and other shows targeted to a young adult audience. What do you think? Got any predictions for popular Twitter trends during this year’s Golden Globes telecast?

Read our full press release here.

Written by Jenn D

January 11th, 2012 at 8:35 am

Posted in Trends

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Analysis of tweets during Apple’s “Let’s Talk iPhone” announcement

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Today, Apple held a 90-minute event announcing their new iPhone and operating system upgrades. We tracked 319K tweets about the iPhone event, generating a reach of 40.3 million and 522 million impressions, from more than 175K different Twitter accounts.

Here’s a quick graph of tweet traffic during the iPhone event (graph times are in CDT). The first big spike hit 11,200 tweets per minute (tpm) at the announcement of iOS 5 coming to devices on October 12. The second major spike happened when the new iPhone 4S was officially announced, hitting 13,000 tweets per minute. During the 90-minute presentation, tweet volume was sustained well above 4,000 tpm. That’s pretty huge, if you’re wondering.

The most retweeted tweets were typically sarcastic comments about the new phone or detailed updates from the event. Here are the top two tweets in terms of retweets (with 845 and 786 retweets, respectively).

Overall, the accounts that generated the most exposure were news and media accounts live-tweeting the event and sharing updates from the presentation, including @mashable, @TIME, and @nytimes.

Finally, here’s overall tweet activity for the entire day of October 4. 148,205 tweets were posted during the first hour (10:00 a.m. PDT) of the “Let’s Talk iPhone” event. 

Written by Jenn D

October 4th, 2011 at 12:37 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Extreme tweets: How ESPN’s X Games social strategy paid off

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We worked with ESPN to measure Twitter’s reaction to this year’s X Games 17, held in Los Angeles, California from July 28-31, 2011. Hundreds of athletes from 17 countries competed in sports like skateboarding, motocross, BMX and rally car racing. And over the four days of the X Games, 97,200 people tweeted 188,813 times, generating an impressive reach of 37.7 million*.

How’d they do it?

“Our goal going in was to make the event as social as possible,” says Mick Kelleher, Associate Manager of Multimedia Content Strategy for the X Games. This was a big, integrated effort combining all the ESPN teams responsible for producing the X Games. The TV production team showed the #xgames hashtag frequently during the telecast, included athlete Twitter accounts in on-screen bios as well as showing athlete tweets on air. The social team used the @XGames Twitter account to keep their followers on Twitter up to date on all the events. The social integration even went all the way to the event site, where they encouraged fans attending the Games to tweet.

The results

ESPN used TweetReach Pro Trackers to comprehensively track and analyze all mentions of the X Games on Twitter for the week leading up to the event and during the event itself. As you can see below, the strong results of their social strategy speak for themselves.

The most retweeted tweet about the games was from @LilTunechi, which received 905 retweets and generated more than 3 million impressions.

One of the biggest stories to come out of this year’s X Games concerned Travis Pastrana, who broke his ankle and leg in the Moto X Best Trick competition on Thursday, but later competed – and placed fourth – in the RallyCross final on Sunday.

We analyzed tweets about several events in detail, including Moto X Best Trick, Skateboarding Big Air, BMX Park Freestyle, Rally Car Racing, Skateboard Street, and RallyCross. At one point during the RallyCross final, viewers noticed something strange; 200 people tweeted that they spotted The Stig from Top Gear walk behind Brian Deegan during an interview. Here are the big moments from one our favorite X Games 17 days. Click the image for the full size version.

Congrats to all the athletes who competed this year! Thank you for an exciting and action-packed four days at X Games 17.

*Read this for more on how we calculate reach and other metrics. And, are you interested in this kind of analysis for your media event? Let’s talk.

Written by Jenn D

August 2nd, 2011 at 5:54 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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A recap of SXSWi 2011 in tweets

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The TweetReach team attended the South by Southwest Interactive conference in Austin, Texas this week. SXSWi is a great big gathering of all kinds of interactive professionals – from social media folks to software developers and startup founders, to designers, researchers and basically anyone interested in the digital space. This year’s SXSWi conference attracted 19,364 attendees (nearly a 36% increase from 2010).

During the conference, we monitored tweets that mentioned SXSW. During the five days of the interactive conference, we tracked:

  • 626,513 tweets from
  • 172,432 contributors with a
  • reach of 56,868,452 that generated
  • 2.2 billion impressions.

The most retweeted tweet during the conference was from @SteveCase and received 1,523 retweets.

We’re still crunching the rest of the numbers, so we’ll have more in-depth analysis of SXSWi tweets and what people were talking about very soon. Stay tuned.

Written by Jenn D

March 16th, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Twitter goes Hollywood: Tweet analysis of the 83rd Academy Awards

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We tracked more than a million tweets during this year’s Oscars telecast (along with partner Mass Relevance). So what did Twitter think of the show? Here’s our analysis of key moments and tweets from the show. Click here to view the full size version of this infographic.

Twitter got pretty excited when:

  • Melissa Leo dropped the f-bomb during her Best Supporting Actress speech
  • Toy Story 3 won Best Animated Feature
  • Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross won Best Original Score for The Social Network
  • The cast of Harry Potter, Twilight and other films were autotuned
  • Oprah announced the Best Documentary Feature award (and when Banksy didn’t win for Exit Through the Gift Shop)
  • Natalie Portman won the Best Actress Oscar
  • The King’s Speech won for Best Picture

Other spikes were when:

  • Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake presented the animated awards
  • James Franco dressed as Marilyn Monroe
  • Christian Bale won Best Supporting Actor
  • Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi’s performed the Oscar-nominated song from Tangled
  • Colin Firth won the Best Actor Oscar
  • PS22 sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow

By the way, our predictions for the big three Oscars were correct! As we dig more into the data over the next few days, we’ll be posting additional Academy Award tweet analysis here.

Written by admin

February 28th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Events,Trends

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Our full analysis of tweets about Super Bowl XLV advertising

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During this year’s Super Bowl, we monitored Twitter conversation about the 26 major brands advertising during the game. From those tweets we compiled an in-depth report on Super Bowl XLV advertising. Below is a summary of that report.

The full 62-page report is based on 374,987 tweets about 26 brands and 47 commercials. The report includes brand by brand comparisons, metrics such as tweet volume, impressions and share of voice, as well as detailed discussion of successful advertising strategies. You can purchase the full Super Bowl tweet analysis report here.

Super Bowl Twitter Analysis Summary

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Written by Jenn D

February 17th, 2011 at 8:09 pm