LONDON: Twitter has a symbiotic relationship with newsbrands with more than half of UK users following them on the site and being significantly more likely to tweet on a daily basis.

A study by YouGov for Newsworks, the marketing body for national newspapers in the UK, surveyed 1,266 representative Twitter users to better understand the relationship between Twitter and newsbrands.

It found that, overall, 59% of Twitter's 15 million users in the UK followed newspaper brands in some form. Following an individual journalist was the most widespread activity, done by 49%, while actual titles lagged behind. Some 35% followed a newspaper brand and 17% a newspaper sub-brand.

While just 11% had been introduced to Twitter by a newsbrand, 40% said they now checked Twitter frequently to keep up with the news.

And speed was an important factor: 61% of the survey said they liked to be able to follow the news as it happens, while 51% liked the fact that news broke on Twitter before anywhere else.

Newsbrand followers were also more active, being 60% more likely to visit Twitter daily and twice as likely (109%) to tweet daily than non-newsbrand followers. In addition, they were more affluent, educated and upmarket and four times more likely to post links to articles and three times more likely to tweet about trending news topics.

Rufus Olins, chief executive, Newsworks, said the research confirmed "what we instinctively knew was a special relationship between newsbrands and Twitter", adding that "they have become interdependent and mutually beneficial".

Interestingly, Twitter users were not restricting themselves to their normal newspaper, as 78% of respondents were following a newsbrand other than their favourite title. And 60% agreed that Twitter gave them the opportunity to engage with brands they would not normally read in print.

Despite the public having a generally low opinion of journalists, they were seen as a reliable source: 62% of newsbrand or sub-brand followers said it was important that news on Twitter was "verified by a respected brand".

Twitter's UK managing director welcomed the symbiotic relationship. "[W]hile people discover news on Twitter, they rely on news organisations to provide more context and analysis," Bruce Daisley said.

Data sourced from Newsworks; additional content by Warc staff