Case Study

Share the love: how Target positively influences shopping intent with engagement

Key results

more likely to shop with interactive brands

more loyal to @Target

more likely to use @Target for service

The opportunity

Retail giant Target (@Target) wanted to understand how interactions with people on Twitter affected brand loyalty and perception. The retail brand has been a pioneer in interacting with Twitter users, consistently using the platform for customer service and customer engagement. @Target wanted to know what impact these interactions have on its brand image amongst people who are not directly involved in an interaction but see it due to Twitter’s public nature.

The strategy

Twitter surveyed a cross-section of Target shoppers who use Twitter (ages 18+) to measure how @Target's interactive approach impacted brand perception. @Target then carried out a Nielsen Brand Effect study to further examine these effects on a promoted campaign. Twitter is unique in that it is a public platform; this type of research helps brands understand how their interactions change what their customers, and those who see these interactions, think of them.

  • Retail
  • Audience Insights
  • United States
  • Create Engagement
  • Case Study


Engagement creates emotional attachment.

The public nature of Twitter means that interactions are visible to all users, and a customer’s problem being solved or a witty, fun interaction can create a positive view of a brand. Connecting with people creates an emotional attachment that can positively impact people's willingness to pay.  


Engagement reaches less frequent shoppers.

A well-managed Promoted Tweet campaign that engages users can encourage even infrequent users to shop: @Target created an 8% increase in shopping intent amongst those who shop only once a month with Promoted Tweets, according to a Nielsen study.*


Promote and engage.

The research demonstrates that the most effective formula for building positive brand sentiment is Promoted Tweets plus interaction. Promoted Tweets that encourage users to respond and a brand that responds to these Tweets create positive associations with the brand much more effectively than promotion alone.

The success

This research clearly demonstrated that there is a positive link between a brand having an interactive Twitter presence and customer feelings towards a brand. Because @Target used Twitter for customer service, other people could see these interactions, creating positive sentiment. By interacting and using Promoted Tweets, @Target was able to take lapsed and infrequent shoppers and increase their shopping intent considerably. Finally, by leveraging Twitter, @Target increased brand love by 11% (according to a Nielsen survey) and turned its customer service into creating more satisfied users.*


Phase 1: Twitter Insiders Study

  • What is Twitter Insiders? Twitter Insiders is a private online community of ~7,000 multicultural Twitter users in the US aged 16+, split across 3 rooms
  • Activities: Users first engaged in a ‘Mad Libs’ discussion about the last brand they connected with on social media, what they enjoyed about the experience and why.
    Target shoppers then took a survey to evaluate examples of past Target organic guest interactions on Twitter, and its impact on their perception of the brand (key metrics: brand affinity, shopping intent, and brand recommendation).
  • Source: Twitter Insiders + DAN, Guest Engagement Research, November 2016; N = 430 users who shop at Target

Phase 2: Nielsen Brand Study

  • What is a Brand Study? Measures the impact of Promoted Tweet campaigns on brand metrics such as Awareness, Association, Favorability, Purchase Intent, and Advocacy. Measures survey responses from “control” and “exposed” groups across mobile + desktop
  • Source: Nielsen Brand Study for Target, November 2016; *Statistically significant different at a 90% confidence level against the control group

Solutions used

Creative canvas

Brands are connecting with people on Twitter in unique and creative ways. And so can you.

Audience insights

Successful marketing efforts start with knowing your audience. Twitter's tools help you dig deep.

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