This document is a list of Market Research agencies on Twitter. I’m only including agency brands – though I plan to expand the list to include prominent individuals. The document is not part of Freaky Trigger, but is linked to Blackbeardblog.

If you know a MR agency with a Twitter presence, please let me know – send a message or DM to @tomewing – so I can add it to the list.

I’ve also included brief notes on how each agency is using Twitter. It’s important to note that there’s no right way to use the tool – so this is just a document of what agencies are currently doing on it. If you’re interested in my opinions on this, though, I’ve added a little thinkpiece at the end of the document.

Stats are correct as of March 9th 2009.

Stats: 30+ followers, 0 updates in last week.
Content: Only one update ever, from October 2008.
Conversation: None.
Style: Apparently this is a placeholder for when Brainjuicer work out how best to use the tool. I look forward to seeing it! (ht @surinder)

Stats: 700+ followers. 6 updates in last week.
Content: blog posts, highly relevant stats, occasional links elsewhere.
Conversation: Monitors and replies to mentions of, replies quickly to messages.
Style: Corporate and brand-centric but friendly and enthusiastic.

Stats: 8900+ followers, 5 updates in last week.
Content: Links to Forrester reports and events news.
Conversation: Some replies to messages but mostly none.
Style: Corporate and brand-centric but informative.

Stats: 60+ followers. 16 updates in last week.
Content: Mostly virals and amusing links. Brand content largely in replies.
Conversation: Replies quickly to messages.
Style: Very informal, brand content kept to minimum.

Stats: 190+ followers, 10 updates in last week.
Content: Links to Ipsos news and PR from their Canadian office.
Conversation: Too new to tell really, lots of thanking followers.
Style: Quite formal, very brand-centric.

OTX Research:
Stats: 140+ followers, 3 updates in last week.
Content: Facts from OTX data and news about conferences/media appearances.
Conversation: Replies to messages and follows up mentions of OTX speakers.
Style: Very brand-centric but quite friendly.

Stats: 50+ followers. 6 updates in last week.
Content: Interesting blog posts from a mix of sources, including quantivo’s own blog. Focus on web analytics.
Conversation: Some unsolicited replies. Not much conversation.
Style: Corporate but friendly, not very brand-centric.

Stats: 180+ followers, 23 updates in last week.
Content: Amusing links and videos, occasional SurveySpot member news.
Conversation: Casual conversation with other users – regularly initiates chat.
Style: Very informal, brand content kept to minimum.

Stats: 20+ followers, 4 updates in last week.
Content: Mostly links to poll results and company news. Some outreach to customers (“what poll would you like us to run”).
Conversation: Following nobody – no personal conversation.
Style: Informal and informative, very brand-centric.

Stats: 130+ followers, 13 updates in last week.
Content: Mostly facts and stats from Synovate data.
Conversation: Monitors and replies quickly to Synovate mentions. Happy to engage in conversation and thanks new followers publically.
Style: Brand-centric but informal and enthusiastic.

Stats: 20+ followers, 6 updates in last week.
Content: Solely facts from TGI data.
Conversation: None.
Style: Entirely corporate and brand-centric.

TNS Media:
Stats: 80+ followers, 1 update in last week.
Content: Links to TNS Media blogs (Cymfony, Compete) and data.
Conversation: None. Content often re-tweeted though.
Style: Corporate and brand-centric.

Stats: 120+ followers, 20 updates in last week.
Content: Links to currently popular polls on the Toluna community.
Conversation: Quick replies to messages, otherwise none.
Style: Corporate and brand-centric.


With the clear exception of Forrester, currently no research agency has a large number of followers. (Compete, with 700, comes closest.) Many of these Twitter accounts are new, so this may change. It appears to me, however, that market research brands are not, in general, likely to capture the interest of a wide audience on Twitter.

Why are Forrester and Compete exceptions? Probably because they operate in the internet measurement and social media environment which a lot of Twitter early adopters are interested in. Forrester in particular is a well-known and trusted brand in this space.

That doesn’t make agency Twitter accounts useless. There’s a “keeping up with the Joneses” element to Twitter use, after all, and an agency who talks the social media talk should probably think about walking the walk. But Twitter is a trap – launch an account and leave it untended and you end up with few followers and no content: a public monument to a badly thought-through strategy. An account with few followers but plenty of content can still be useful, though: it’s easy to embed Twitter feeds on the front page of a larger website and provide dynamic content that way.

Interestingly, meanwhile, many individual market researchers have large numbers of followers. A striking example is Diane Hessan of Communispace, who posts at – very chatty and personal but also posting research-relevant content and replies as well as chit-chat. But there are a host of individual market researchers with 200+ followers, which is more than any agency brand save Forrester and Compete.

Again, if you’re involved in online communities or social media you’re more likely to pick up Twitter followers than if you’re involved in postal service measurement. But even so the lesson seems to be that Twitter rewards individual engagement and relationship-building more than corporate engagement.

Of the branded agencies that are on Twitter, three strategies emerge: posting nuggets of data, posting branded content (blog posts, reports etc.), and posting unbranded content.

Posting data (like TGI and Synovate) has the advantage that what you’re posting is genuinely exclusive content – at least potentially, nobody else has it. But it has two disadvantages: i. 140 characters doesn’t leave much room for the context that can make data interesting, ii. Data doesn’t seem to attract re-posting and replying as much as a link.

Posting branded content via links (like Compete and Forrester) drives traffic to your site directly, and is highly social: it can be re-posted easily by others. It seems to be the most successful agency strategy, especially combined with an interesting product and a willingness to get involved in conversation. The one disadvantage is that it’s not a stand-alone strategy: if you don’t have a steady flow of content to link back to, your posts may dry up.

Posting unbranded content – usually amusing links and videos – is a specialist strategy used by panel owners like Headbox and SurveySpot. Here the Twitter feed is a bonus to keep you engaged as a panel member, as well as a potential source of customer feedback. Other agencies might well post the odd bit of unbranded content, but it’s unlikely to be a plank of their strategy.