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Twitter is, by far, the most engaging online platform today, and represent a huge opportunity for traditional media and brands – read on to see the numbers.

In the last couple of months, Pravda Media was working with Israel’s biggest TV News Company, Channel 2 News, on integrating Twitter in their ongoing operation.
We looked at twitter in two ways:
1. Distribution Channel – Channel 2 News website is populated with video news section, both pre-recorded and and live. We wanted to use Twitter to drive more traffic to the site and increase video viewership.
2. Interaction Channel – We chose one TV show, called Meet The Press, and interacted with the audience via Twitter. Viewers were asked to send questions to the host before the live broadcast of the show, and twits were displayed on TV screen during the live show.

Twitter, though still a small network in Israel, proven to be the most engaging online platform today, with highest click through rates , and responses from TV audience

Let’s look the the figures:
1.  Users are clicking on links on Twitter  more than on  any other platform: the Average click through rate (CTR) of twitter links is 10% – X70 times more than banners, X10 times more than links in forums and items on Channel 2 website. According to Eyeblaster’s research, the average banner CTR of  is 0.14%.  Channel 2 News generate around 1% CTR in their items and in online forums. When considering the fact that twitter is a time based medium, meaning that users see  twits in a specific time window, these numbers are even more significant, as they represent a higher engagement.

2. Level of engagement of TV viewers is much higher in Twitter than in other media channels. Meet The Press offered viewers to ask their weekly guest questions via Twitter, in addition to the show’s forum and comments on their site. Twitter generated tens of questions and responses, much more than any other platform.

3. On  June 14th 2009, Israel’s prime minister gave an historical speech at Bar Ilan university. The speech was broadcast live on all TV channels, and online in all major news sites. 10% of all traffic reaching channel 2 news site to watch the broadcast originated from Twitter, an amazing number considering that Channel 2 started engaging in twitter only a couple of months before this event.

4. Long term involvement in twitter  provides clear benefits for the company. Channel 2 sees a constant increase in amount of interaction with their Twitter user, while all other interaction channels don’t show any growth.

Possible explanation of these figures

The numbers above show that Twitter users are more engaged in conversation and clicking more links than on other mediums. In my opinion, two important factors are causing this behaviour:

1. Twitter is all about instant gratification. 140 charecters and rapid life-streaming encourages users to click on links in order to get additional media. This experience is fundamentally different than forums, blogs and other longer formats.

2. When users connect to twitter, they already intend to engage. While banners are trying to divert reader’s attention from the content he or she wanted to consume (the site content itself), Twitter users are there for the interaction.

Would every twitter campaign generate the same CTR? No. One should remember that Channel 2 is a leading news  company, so their content  is relevant to time of the tweet, and well produced. These factors might not exist in other cases.

However, one thing is certain – Twitter, and probably Micro-blogging as a platform, is engaging and interactive. Now it is up to us to find new creative ways to use it.