Making Noise When Twitter Goes 'Silent'


Just before the holiday weekend, Miguel Rios, data science manager at Twitter, posted a blog showing how Twitter users behaved during the penalty kick shootout during the Brazil vs. Chile match on June 28.

Twitter measured activity on its platform through tweets per minute (TPM), which topped out at 388,985 just moments after Brazil beat Chile to advance to the quarterfinals. Rios wrote how Twitter went 60 times deeper into the data -- befitting for a guy with “data science” in his job title -- and looked at tweets per second (TPS) to see how the Twitterverse reacted during the penalty shootout. 

It’s possible you’ve seen the graphic above, which has been floating around the Internet for a few days, but what does it tell real-time marketers? Twitter describes the deep valleys as “silences,” while the large spikes that follow show how users reacted to each kick.

“In the instance of this Twitter silence, it’s human nature to pause in a tense moment, and we could also predict that penalties are going to happen in the knockout phase. So brands can prepare to a certain extent, while leaving the window open for last minute tweaks to accommodate the trends that emerge in the social market,” said Jeanette Gibson, VP of customer experience and community at Hootsuite, the social media management company.

Diaz Nesamoney, CEO and founder of Jivox, an ad platform with a focus on personalization, said: “Brands create greater engagement with audiences when they deliver relevant messaging that ties in to what is happening as it is happening. As audiences increasingly use social media during live events to express their thoughts and reactions, brands at the cutting edge of digital advertising are beginning to leverage this content to personalize ads in order to more deeply engage potential customers.”

Part of that “deep engagement” could come through connecting with human emotion. For example, in the graphic Twitter shared, one sees just how tense the shootout was -- and how that real-life tension spilled over into the digital world.

“Think of it this way: you could dynamically change a message within an ad just before a penalty shootout, targeting people in the area of the game with message such as, 'A shootout can be tense -- it's time for a beer,’” Nesamoney said.

From biting incidents to misplaced giraffes, the World Cup has not failed to deliver memorable real-time marketing moments. The U.S. team may be out (is it okay to eat Belgian waffles yet?), but the tournament's penultimate stage begins tonight. With data like this being shared by Twitter, don't be surprised to see some marketers use it to their advantage, especially if we see more penalty kicks.

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