LAS VEGAS: Twitter, the online news and social platform, successfully tapped the power of consumer research to help understand why non-users were often confused by the purpose its service fulfils.

Leslie Berland, Twitter's CMO, discussed this topic at CES 2017, with a particular focus on a brand campaign, based around the positioning of "What's Happening?", which launched last year.

This effort showed that the digital platform was the best place to get up-to-the-minute insight on the latest news, events and opinion. And its development leaned heavily on a research program undertaken among two broad cohorts.

"We broke up the universe into two groups of human beings: people who love Twitter and who use it every single day, and people who do not use Twitter," said Berland. (For more details, read Warc's exclusive report: Twitter brings clarity to its brand.)

Effectively reaching the latter audience could help boost Twitter's monthly active user base, currently standing at 319m people, and equally promised to increase its slow but steady growth rate on this metric.

The first of three main barriers for non-users reflected a longer-term inconsistency in Twitter's positioning. "People did not know what Twitter is for," Berland admitted.

A second, related, issue was that "people thought Twitter was a social network" for connecting with friends and family, rather than serving a diverse range of other roles, too.

The final obstacle was the perceived "pressure to tweet," said Berland. "People believe that to use Twitter they must tweet … They have this perception of, 'If you're not tweeting, if I don't know what to say, is Twitter really for me?'"

While Twitter can be used for all these reasons, the marketing program it introduced in 2016 aimed to show non-users why the platform's passionate fans were so enraptured with the service.

"When we surveyed the people – and interviewed the people who love Twitter all over the globe – consistently, they said the same exact thing, more or less. Which is, 'Twitter shows me what's happening in the world'.

"So what we set out to do was to define who we are, to take the people who think we're a social network or feel nervous about tweeting … and bring them to the people and to the essence of that love for Twitter, which is about what's happening in the world."

Data sourced from Warc