A new study on motivational analysis led by professors at Columbia Business School and the University of Pittsburgh projects Twitter to turn into something similar to TV.

The research conducted by scholars from the two academic institutions studied the sustainability of Twitter, the microblogging site and social network with more than 500 million members. 

Olivier Toubia, professor at the Columbia Business School, posted a provocative tweet related to the research he coauthored with Andrew T. Stephen, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh. “Get ready for a TV-like Twitter,” he said.

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The research looked at the reason why people, even without financial motivation, post updates to Twitter on a daily basis.

The study went over approximately 2,500 noncommercial users of the platform. In one field experiment, Toubia and Stephen chose at random a number of those users and, with help from other makeshift accounts, increased the number of followers for the chosen group. At the outset, the team leaders saw the posting rate increased in conjunction with the rise in number of followers of the selected group. When the group touched a particular degree of stature, wherein it gained a fairly large amount of Twitter followers, the posting rate dropped considerably.

Toubia said users started to understand they had to drop their activity rate, as it was getting more difficult to draw more followers using the same strategy. Once the tweets stopped generating more Twitter followers, people started to see the platform as a static structure similar to TV.

Based on the results of the study, Toubia and Stephen believe tweets by average Twitter users will slowly drop, but celebrities and users who have financial interests on the platform will continue to post for monetary gain.

Toubia said Twitter will gradually turn into less of a communications channel and deliver more content, similar to the way TV does it. He added that peer-to-peer contact will most likely become the next big thing. However, with more than 500 million registered users, Twitter will not dissipate so easily. It will only become a platform where average users can simply follow personalities, companies, brands, and the like.

Twitter recently released a new set of TV ad tracking analytics tools to extend the capabilities TV Ad Targeting, a new product for marketers and advertisers it introduced in June. For that reason, advertisers who use TV Ad Targeting have a better way to understand and see what Twitter users say about their social media campaigns.

TV Ad Targeting offers an instantaneous answer to make it simpler for advertisers to continue on Twitter the conversations that started from TV.

image: (Flickr / Rosaura Ochoa)