Tweets and Their Influence on Online Shopping


Image from: Twitter / Shutterstock

During the several week lull that is mercifully located between the busy Back-To-School shopping season and the even busier Holiday shopping season, Compete and Twitter worked together to understand the impact that Tweets posted by retail companies have on the consumers who see them.  Specifically, we wanted to know whether Tweets influence consumer behavior; are people exposed to a retailer Tweet more likely to visit that retailer’s website and eventually purchase from that retailer?

To answer these questions, Compete observed 2,600 U.S.-based internet consumers who saw Tweets from almost 700 different retailers such as Amazon, Nike and Walmart from August to mid-October.  We limited the scope of the study to desktop browsing only (no mobile or table activity) and exposure on only (no Twitter clients were included in the analysis).  We also studied the behavior of two control groups comprised of a similar set of consumers who visited Twitter but did not see retailer Tweet and who were simply average internet users.

Compete and Twitter uncovered two key findings highlighted below:

1. Twitter users who see Tweets from retailers are more likely to visit retail sites

We found that Twitter users who were exposed to retailer Tweet visit those retailer websites at a higher rate (95%) than general internet users (90%).  This finding is true for both mass retail sites as well as specific categories like apparel & accessories retailers and becomes even more pronounced for more niche parts of the retail industry like toys or sporting goods.

Visited a Retail Website after seeing TweetKey takeaway: Twitter users are big online shoppers, but big brands aren’t the only retailers that benefit. Twitter brings people closer to a wide range of interests so niche retailers who engage the highly engaged audience on Twitter often see stronger results than mass retailers.


2. Twitter users who see retailer Tweets are more likely to make online purchases

During the timeframe that Compete analyzed, 27% of general internet users bought something from a retail website. Twitter users, however, made purchases at a rate of 33% from the same sites. When Twitter users were exposed to a Tweet from a retailer, that purchase rate increased to 39%.  This represents a lift of 1. 4X and 1.2X, respectively, and is true across a variety of retail categories.

Purchased from a Retail WebsiteKey Takeaway: People who see a retailer’s Tweets are even more likely to make an online retail purchase than they are to visit retailer websites. This means Twitter users arrive on a retail website with a higher intent to buy.

Compete and Twitter also uncovered other findings around how the number of Tweets influences retail site visitation and conversion as well as other interesting results.

To download the full Tweets In Action: Retail study, visit