Majority of 15m Twitter users in the UK follow a newspaper

The symbiotic relationship between Twitter and newsbrands has been underlined in new research commissioned by Newsworks and presented today.

#NewsOnTheTweet infographic: 59% of Twitter users follow a newsbrand
#NewsOnTheTweet infographic: 59% of Twitter users follow a newsbrand

The #NewsOnTheTweet study, conducted by YouGov, shows that a majority of people (59%) on Twitter use the platform to follow newsbrands – 35% follow main newsbrand accounts, 17% follow sub-brands and almost half of those surveyed (49%) follow at least one journalist.

Newsbrand followers are also more active, being 60% more likely to visit Twitter daily and twice as likely (109%) to tweet daily than non-newsbrand followers. They are a more affluent, educated and upmarket audience that is four times more likely to post links to articles and three times more likely to tweet about trending news topics.

Rufus Olins, chief executive, Newsworks, said: "We are delighted this joint research project with Twitter has helped us get under the skin of what we instinctively knew was a special relationship between newsbrands and Twitter. They have become interdependent and mutually beneficial.

"We are immersed in news. We want to be the first to know and also to be guided by expert insight and interpretation. The combination of newsbrands and Twitter helps keep us informed and opinionated. The insights from this study show that Twitter and newsbrands are most definitely stronger together."

The immediacy and accessibility of Twitter brings valuable readers to newspaper brands – including brands that users would not necessarily read in print or online. Twitter has widened many people’s exposure to newspaper brands with 78% of respondents following a newspaper brand other than their favourite title. 60% of newsbrand followers say Twitter gives them the opportunity to engage with brands they would not normally read in print.

People use Twitter to discover breaking news and follow newsbrands and journalists to stay up to date on current affairs. They rely on the newsbrands themselves to provide more detailed information and analysis, with 75% of newsbrand followers saying that Twitter is an important link to more in-depth content.

Newsbrands also play an important role in verifying news stories - with 62% of newsbrand or sub-brand followers saying it’s important that news on Twitter is "verified by a respected brand".

Bruce Daisley, managing director of Twitter UK, said: "People come to Twitter because it is live, public and conversational. This makes it a great place to follow breaking news and connect directly with news organisations and journalists.

"But while people discover news on Twitter, they rely on news organisations to provide more context and analysis. It is great to see the symbiotic relationship between Twitter and newsbrands confirmed by this piece of research."

The #NewsOnTheTweet study consisted of a landscape audit, investigating YouGov’s database of Twitter users to identify how people were using Twitter and the role of newsbrands within that, followed by a multi-dimensional qualitative phase, which used analytics, online diaries, telephone interviews, Twitter profiling and in-depth video interviews, as well as a quantitative survey among more than 1,200 Twitter users.

Total sample size was 1266 UK Twitter users. Fieldwork was undertaken from 5 December 2013 – 18 December 2013. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of UK Twitter users.

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