Socialyse & Twitter:Exclusive Telco Research Identifies Clear Switching Process

Twitter partnered with Socialyse in a European-wide study of the consumer process around switching mobile providers. The findings indicate that 40% of those users turn to Twitter to inform their selection of device or carrier.

The research highlights how consumers who use Twitter as part of the switching process enjoy a more positive experience than those who don’t.

Exclusive research from Socialyse (Havas Group’s social media solution) shows that 63% of “switchers”  will change their mobile device, and 23% will change their device and carrier.  The study identifies a clear switching process including four key phases –Information Gathering, Active Research, Decision Making and Deal Hunting.  It also demonstrates the important role of social media:  25% will turn to Twitter to inform their decision, and Twitter ranks among the Top 5 point of contacts for research.

Socialyse Global Managing Director Séverin Naudet comments:  “The mobile phone industry is extremely dynamic. With total worldwide mobile phone shipments of just under 2 billion units, the mobile phone industry will grow by over 10% this year .  We’ve been working closely with global telco companies, and this study really demonstrates not only how social is a powerful business solution, but how Twitter, in particular, can influence and impact the purchase decision. Social brings ROI to advertisers.”  

Key Consumer Insights about Switching

The research provides keen insights into consumer attitudes and behaviors regarding switching their mobile devices and carriers:

– There are 3 key consumer motivations for a switch:  improving current equipment, ie device and/or price; urgent needs like breakage or theft; and rewarding customer outreach at contract end-date.  There were some differences by region:  a higher level of motivation related to contracts in Europe and a higher level of motivation to change devices, plans or carriers in Latin America.

– For devices, the Top 5 criteria for a switch were (in order):  Price, Technical Characteristics, Operating System, Camera Quality and Brand.

– For carriers, the Top 5 criteria for a switch were (in order):  Network Coverage, Network Quality, Price, Internet Speed and Included Services.

– Despite being confused at first, most people feel positively about the change.

– Twitter users stay informed with news and deals available on the market, are more likely to be both experts and influencers for others seeking new devices or carriers, and are more at ease with switching.

– 78% make their decision to switch in 1 month or less.

Bruce Daisley, VP of Europe at Twitter, says:  “Twitter plays a daily role in the lives of our users, and this research highlights how useful it can be in helping people across Europe make informed decisions about the telecom brands they turn to and the mobile products they buy. There are important lessons here for these brands and the industry. We found similarities in how people approach switching from London, to Berlin, Madrid and Paris. And what’s fascinating is that Twitter can help make the process more positive. That says a lot about the platform.”

Using Twitter to Influence Switching

In addition to the consumer insights, the study also delivers clear recommendations on how to activate Twitter for telcos:

– With 25% of all respondents turning to Twitter to inform their choice of smartphone or carrier, use an everyday Twitter strategy and targeted messaging to reach users at the right time and right place.

– As a key touchpoint at each phase, tailor Twitter targeting to reach consumers at each distinct step in the Telco switching process: Information Gathering, Active Research, Decision Making and Deal Hunting.

– Consider influencer partnerships with Niche to combine the benefits of impartiality and trust with the existing power of utility and information that brands’ tweets have to drive purchase.

– Twitter is most impactful in the stages leading to a final decision in the switching journey.  Combine an everyday strategy with TVxTwitter to drive campaign success.

– Twitter users tend to be more influential among their peer groups as layman experts in the telco field; Connect with and cultivate brand advocates on Twitter to grow a valuable base of earned brand coverage through outreach & advocacy.

– Seed promotions one month prior to the launch of a new device/plan to align with the average consumer switching cycle of 30 days.


Research institute CSA contacted smartphone users aged 18-50 who have or will change their mobile device and/or plan in the past/next 3 months, across the UK, France, Germany, Spain, Brazil and Mexico.  The study included two phases: 1) a qualitative analysis including focus groups and one-on-one interviews, and 2) an in-depth qualitative online survey. 

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