How Twitter is Used in Ireland
- As little as 160 tweets could get you trending
- Sports and Politics are the most popular topics
- Wednesday is the busiest day on Twitter
- 10pm to 11pm is the busiest hour each day
- Dublin & Cork users post almost half of all Irish tweets
Twitter Trends in Ireland
The first part of the study looked at trending topics in Ireland. Twitter uses an algorithm to decide what topics trend, while trying to explain that algorithm fully would be impossible, the purpose of this part of the research was to provide a better understanding of how it works. On the Twitter website they explain that the algorithm “identifies topics that are immediately popular, rather than topics that have been popular for a while or on a daily basis, to help you discover the hottest emerging topics of discussion on Twitter that matter most to you”. With this in mind the research into Twitter Trends examines the hours immediately before a topic trends to try and uncover some of the influencing factors.
The Discovery study took hourly logs of Twitter Trends between 4pm Monday July 8th and 7am on Sunday July 14th. A total of 1,340 trends were logged, although of these only 149 were unique highlighting that many trends lasted for several hours or disappeared only to trend again at a different time or on a different day. The 149 unique trends can be broadly categorised as the following;
We say broadly categorised as many topics could fall into several categories. For example during the timeframe of this research the Abortion Vote dominated both Politics and Current Affairs. In this case trends have been put into the most relevant category. The Other category covers random words and names of people that cannot be attributed to one person or event.
Given the proliferation of branded hashtags and branded Twitter accounts in advertising, it was surprising that none trended organically. This could be a signal that no brands were carrying out any major activity during this timeframe, or that it is more difficult for brands to trend. This could explain why Twitter provides a paid advertising feature called Promoted Trends. This allows brands to beat the algorithm and become a trend, but at a cost. When brands are trying to trend organically it’s also possible other factors play a role such as the time of day and the influence of the people tweeting about the topic.
How Many Tweets to Trend in Ireland
One of the most contentious issues of the week was the Abortion Vote. This first trended at 3am on Thursday July 11th. This was the night of the vote in the Dail when the debate lasted until 4.50am. The topic trended 34 times up to Friday night at 8pm. In the preceding eight hours before trending the term featured in 705 tweets. Among the most influential tweeters were @rtenews, @independent_ie and @Colmogorman.
We suggested earlier that influence could play a factor in trending and it seems likely when you consider Heuston trended with just 160 mentions. When we looked deeper at the data and other Irish specific trends we found hahstags with even fewer mentions. These were #Bohs (143 tweets), #PhoenixPark (71 tweets) and Christians (72 tweets) all of which were news stories or events taking place that week. For example Bohs had played Dundalk, a series of gigs were due to take place at Phoenix Park and Fianna Fáil senator Terry Leyden had just referred to Hitler and Mussolini as good Christians. While these trended with fewer mentions there was at least one significant influencer who mentioned the term before trending; @NiallOfficial of One Direction mentioned Bohs, @Newstalk_ie mentioned #PhoenixPark and @thejournal_ie mentioned Christians.
Further examination of trending hashtags was conducted to identify ones without any mentions by influential users. Within the Other category we found some possible examples, however many of these had a sizeable number of mentions globally. For example we identified #WhoMakesMeHappy trended on July 8th with just 121 mentions in the eight hours preceding trending and no mentions by influential users. However it did have over 76,000 mentions internationally. The volume of global mentions may therefore impact what trends locally.
Another factor that could play a role in trending is the proportion of original tweets to retweets. An original tweet should, in theory, carry more weight than a retweet. The former is original content with opinion and the latter is an action carried out to show support to the original tweet. From our own experience this could play a role as we have witnessed hashtag mentions far in excess of the numbers listed above in a short time frame, however with a high proportion of retweets and therefore it did not trend on Twitter. When we consider the hashtag #WhoMakesMeHappy trended with no influential users, a low number of tweets, but with 83% original tweets, it could suggest original tweets carry more weight.
Tweets by County
Unsurprisingly most of the tweets come from the capital with over 36% originating here; this was followed by Cork on 12.7%. These two counties account for almost half of all tweets posted in Ireland in July. Following these two are Louth, Meath and Kildare; three counties that also experienced some of the highest population growth in the last census. The lowest tweeting counties were Roscommon (0.93% of tweets), Leitrim (0.46%) and Longford (0.28%).
Earlier in 2013 Twitter released data that indicated there are nearly 600,000 daily active users on the social network. With so many tweets coming from Dublin and Cork one would have to ask how many of those active users are based in those two counties.
Recent Ipsos MRBI data for Ireland indicates 27% of the Irish population over the age of 15 uses Twitter, this increases to 53% for 15 to 24 year olds and 46% of 25 – 34 year olds. When you consider the age of the average Twitter user, with the above data, we can identify that they are predominantly young and urban based.
Volume of Tweets per 1,000 People
The counties with the lowest volume of tweets per 1,000 of the population only underlines the rural/urban divide in Twitter use. Longford, Clare, Westmeath and Kerry make up the bottom four counties. With such a young audience on Twitter one must question if such a low volume of tweets in these counties has been impacted by external factors such emigration. Limerick is the county with the fifth lowest number of tweets and behind it are Cavan (with 2,077 tweets per 1,000 people) and Laois (2,085 tweets).
When we look at both the volume by county and the volume per 1,000 people we see some counties appear in the upper section of both lists. These counties are Dublin, Cork, Louth, Waterford, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow. Geographically these can be broken down into two clusters. One is in east and consists of Dublin, Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow. The second is in the south and consists of Cork and Waterford.
Average Tweets Per Day
The average number of tweets per day was measured over the month of July. The daily average was 818,224 tweets. In data released earlier this year Twitter reported an average of one million daily tweets. The Discovery research could differ due to a different reporting system used, as Twitter would have direct access to this data.
The busiest days of the week were Wednesdays which had an average of 868,964 tweets, this was followed by Tuesdays on 857,155 tweets and Mondays had 840,498 tweets. The least amount of tweets in July were sent on Saturdays (732,187 tweets), Fridays (785,162 tweets) and Sundays (807,493 tweets) while Thursdays are in the middle with 808,121 tweets.
Tweets Per Hour
Twitter Users in Ireland
- Mostly active in Dublin and Cork
- Key spots of high activity exist’s outside of the capital in Louth, Meath, Kildare, Wicklow and Waterford
- A high proportion of users are aged 15 – 35
- Most activity occurs in the first half of the week
- Users are active from midday onwards
- The busiest time on twitter is from 8pm to 11pm
Brand Opportunities to Trend
Opportunities for Influential Media Accounts
The Structure of Tweets
Best Time to Tweet
Marketing Opportunities on Twitter
Marketing Limitations of Twitter
For in-depth social and online analysis for your brand please contact Cathal Gillen on 01-6690286 or email cathal.gillen[at]eightytwenty[dot]ie
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