Twitter as a Focus Group? Think Again.

Check out my terribly unscientific research (Sources include Twitter Grade, US Census and Edison Research.  And before you check my math, I've been very liberal with rounding numbers for the sake of time).

  • 33% of the US population has a HHI > $50K.  47% on Twitter exceed that threshold
  • 19% of the US population has a 4 year college degree.  30% on Twitter.
  • 65% of the US population is white.  51% of Twitter's population is white. 
  • 14% of the US population is 25-34 years old.  33% of Twitter users fall in that range.
  • Somewhere around 30% of the US population is > 45 years.  19% of Twitter users.

Twitter clearly represents a wealthier, better-educated, more ethnically diverse, contemporary group than the general US population.

So here's a simple man making a simple point to advertising insiders (agencies, trade media):

You are barking up the wrong tree if you think Twitter is a proxy for the US population.

Think about this next time you wring your hands over the Groupon spots (How dare they make light of social causes so near and dear to our hearts?  They've comitted brand suicide!  How can they still be running these spots days later, after all the outrage!?). 

And also when you're tempted to speak on behalf of all Americans when expressing outrage(!!) over GoDaddy's, Teleflora's and PepsiMax' 'lowbrow' approach.

Guess what folks, there's a whole lot of space between NYC and LA ... flyover country as people like to say. And those 290 million or so people think differently than you do about scantilly clad women, boob jokes and getting knocked silly by a can of soda. 

And while I'm sure they'd all love to save whales and Tibet, they are still worried about stuff like money, which is exactly what Groupon helps them save.

There is still such a huge degree of NASCAR Blindness (a term I will be forever grateful to Alan Wolk for coining) going on in the ad industry.  I said this in November of 2009 and it holds true today ...

I don't think it's going out on a limb to say that Dana White and Brian France could walk down Madison Avenue without causing much of a stir.  Which is too bad because one could easily argue that White and France - along with Vince McMahon - know the American consumer landscape better than anyone in the "industry."