News On The Tweet

Newsworks research


As the news landscape changes, what does the immediacy and open nature of Twitter mean for newsbrands? Newsworks’ #NewsOnTheTweet study, conducted in partnership with Twitter, helps to better understand the relationship between Twitter and newsbrands.

Consumers are immersed in news. They want to be the first to know but also to be guided by expert insight and interpretation. The combination of newsbrands and Twitter helps keep people informed and opinionated.

#NewsOnTheTweet, conducted by YouGov, shows that a majority of people on Twitter (59%) use the platform to follow newsbrands - 35% follow main newsbrand accounts, 17% follow sub-brands and almost half of those surveyed follow at least one journalist.

They are a very attractive audience, indexing well above average for most types of consumption, social influence and early adopter behaviour.

Key findings:

  • 59% of Twitter’s 15 million users in the UK follow newspaper brands
  • 62% believe news on Twitter should be verified by a respected newsbrand
  • 60% of newsbrand followers say Twitter gives them the opportunity to engage with newspaper brands they would not normally read in print

The key drivers of newsbrands’ users relationship with Twitter are… 

… a thirst for knowledge, a desire to join the debate and opinion-setting, searching for communities of like-minded people, and joining in with the gossip and banter.

Consumers are enthusiastic about the changing role of news and the ability of channels like Twitter and newsbrands to make it a more personal, shared, engaging and entertaining experience. Five of the top six media brands (and 30 of the top 50) responsible for content that is shared through Twitter are newsbrands.

For Twitter, newsbrands are a valuable source of content and help drive both traffic and acquisitions. The top three reasons given for signing up to Twitter are:

  • "To be aware of what is going on around me"
  • "To feel connected to people I am interested in but don’t know"
  • "To pass the time"

Newsbrand followers use Twitter more frequently than non-followers – they are 60% more likely to visit daily and twice as likely (109%) to tweet daily than non-newsbrand followers. They are also four times more likely to post links to articles and three times more likely to tweet about trending news topics.

For newsbrands, Twitter offers immediate access and greater reach. The average follower follows several newsbrands at once and the majority have been persuaded to buy a newspaper or visit a newsbrand website regularly as a result.

The study shows that Twitter users rely on newsbrands to provide more detailed information and analysis, with 75% of newsbrand followers saying that Twitter is an important link to more in-depth content.

Newsbrands also play an important role in verifying news stories - with 62% of newsbrand or sub-brand followers saying it’s important that news on Twitter is "verified by a respected brand".

Followers are more engaged with their favourite newsbrand/s and more connected to journalists, with 49% of those surveyed following at least one journalist. Led by the likes of Caitlin Moran, Grace Dent, Fleet Street Fox, Oliver Holt and Kevin McGuire, the journalists have become a powerful force within the Twitter universe, garnering millions of followers and creating a more personal connection with their readers as a result.

Just like the integration of online and legacy media elsewhere, the emergence of Twitter has enhanced the news eco-system. The findings demonstrate just how much newsbrands and Twitter are interdependent and mutually beneficial.

"People come to Twitter because it is live, public and conversational. This makes it a great place to follow breaking news and connect directly with news organisations and journalists. But while people discover news on Twitter, they rely on news organisations to provide more context and analysis. It is great to see the symbiotic relationship between Twitter and newsbrands confirmed by this piece of research.

Bruce Daisley, managing director, Twitter UK