Why politicians love Twitter: Tweets drive real donations

A study after the presidential debate showed that Twitter users exposed to political tweets are twice as likely to donate as other users of the microblogging service.

Daniel Terdiman Former Senior Writer / News
Daniel Terdiman is a senior writer at CNET News covering Twitter, Net culture, and everything in between.
Daniel Terdiman
2 min read
A new study shows that political tweets increase visits to donation sites dramatically. Twitter

Twitter users may be tired of political tweets streaming through their feeds, but they shouldn't expect the flow to subside, because those tweets are driving actual political donations.

In a study Twitter conducted after last week's first presidential debate between President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, and released today, the microblogging service said that people exposed to any kind of political tweet are 98 percent more likely to visit a donation page as the average person on Twitter. Not only that, but even the average Twitter user is 68 percent more likely to visit such a page than the average Internet user.

Indeed, the study demonstrated that political tweets are more likely to drive visits to political donation sites than are normal visits to political Web sites.

And repetition clearly works, too. In a blog post on the study, Twitter's director of political ad sales, Peter Greenberger, wrote that the more days someone is exposed to a political tweet, the more likely they are to end up visiting a donation page. If someone saw a tweet over three to seven days, they were 31 percent more likely to go to a donation page than someone who saw the tweet for just one or two days. And the number goes up even higher if the tweet is repeated for eight or more days. According to the study, the number jumps to 130 percent more likely after eight days.

Political partisans should have little problem with the report. Greenberger wrote that the increases in engagement were unrelated to party affiliation. "The lifts in donation rates by Twitter users were found to be very similar across all candidates, groups, and parties," he wrote. "Republican handles accelerated donations to their candidates at virtually the same rate as Democratic handles did for theirs."