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Twitter mixes global and local research

News, 17 June 2016

MARINA DEL REY, CA: Twitter, the social-media platform, is attempting to find the right balance between local and global insights as it seeks to develop deep consumer understanding.

Desiree O'Brien, a Senior Consumer Insights Analyst at Twitter, discussed this subject at the 2016 New Face of Consumer Insights Conference held by the Institute for International Research (IIR) in Marina del Rey, California.

More specifically, she reported that adopting a "Goldilocks approach" to segmentation has helped the company gain a fuller understanding of its audience.

"If I stand up and say there are five segments around the world, that's just not true," said O'Brien. (For more, including further details of the brand's approach to research, read Warc's exclusive report: Insights help Twitter explain value in a global market.)

"[But] the other side of the paradigm is giving too much detail. We don't want a segmentation that gives us 42 segments around the world, because then you end up with nothing."

Resolving this challenge, according to O'Brien, demands being "cut-throat" when identifying new user cohorts. "You only get a new segment name if it was truly different, and not just a shade of gray," she asserted.

Another issue requiring a similarly nuanced approach is allocating research dollars to key markets – which might not be the nations with the greatest number of users.

"The markets where you make the most sales revenue are not always the markets where you have the most eyeballs. So how do you balance growing your user base and growing revenue?" O'Brien asked.

As evidenced by these examples, local insights are vital, but also form part of a much wider pool of knowledge. "What ends up happening is we tell the [global] story on the back-end," said O'Brien.

To illustrate this point, she cited analysis conducted by Twitter that began in various markets, and was then pulled together to generate a more international perspective.

"We went market by market, doing in-depth quantitative and in-depth qualitative [research], and reporting out local insights. And then we went back and laddered that up to global takeaways," said O'Brien.

Data sourced from Warc