Twitter-Crazed Tweens: Lessons from One Direction’s Australian Tour

Twitter-Crazed Tweens: Lessons from One Direction’s Australian Tour
May 31, 2012 Kaz Scott

While One Direction’s Australian tour may not have changed the face of music, it appears they may have changed Twitter as a marketing tool to engage with a rapidly growing youth segment.

One Direction’s recent Australian tour turned into a social media phenomenon, especially for tweens on Twitter – who took to Twitter in droves, professing their unending “advocacy” for the band throughout the month of April.

The traffic on Twitter was huge and it became patently obvious… Tweens love Twitter …and this presents a great opportunity for youth marketers.

An analysis of data drawn form social media monitoring tool, Radian6, clearly showed the impact on social media of One Direction’s Australian tour.  In one short month, here’s what happened:

  • There were 2,061,902 mentions of One Direction (full list of keywords used for this research below)
  • Of these, 2,059,822 occurred on Twitter (99.9% of all conversations)
  • These Twitter mentions achieved 1,557,446,086 Twitter impressions (yes – 1.5 billion impressions)

While a total reach of 1.5 billion on Twitter is surprising, it is perhaps less startling that roughly 50,000 tweets about One Direction also contained the acronym “OMG”.

What’s more, Tweens are uber content creators.  A closer look at Radian6 revealed that 61% of all of conversations were by users under the age of 20 – meaning they were responsible for 1.2 million mentions of One Direction.

When Tweens are on Twitter, they’re really, really active. In the past, we often talk about how the user demographic of Twitter skews older (53% of Australian Twitter users are aged between 35 – 53 years of age). The “One Direction” phenomenon then raises an interesting question – so if only 17% of Australian Twitter users are under the age of 18 (Source:, how could there have been so much conversation from them on the micromedia platform? Just a year and a half ago, US headlines read that youth “prefer Facebook to blogging, Twitter”. How times have changed!
So what exactly does this mean?  It’s a great opportunity for youth marketers – with young users (and tweenage #1Directioners) obviously becoming increasingly active on Twitter, it’s prime time for brands to think about what they will do to engage with these users. What kind of content will they produce? Who will they build partnerships with? And how will it be different?

Some businesses have already cottoned on to this. Two of the most popular hashtags that co-occurred with mentions of One Direction in Australia were Channel Nine’s #TheVoiceAU and Nova’s #SmallzysSurgery. Both were Twitter hashtags that achieved some decent reach by talking about and partnering with One Direction – makes you wonder about the potential of branded content.

And more importantly, will regulations need to be put in place for Twitter in line with the Code for Advertising and Marketing Communications for Children? Facebook has a minimum required age of 13, and there is currently no age requirement to be a member of the platform.

For perspective, there are 22,328,800 people currently living in Australia (a 2010 statistic by the World Bank), 5.7 million Australians under 20 years of age and 1.1 million Australians are on Twitter. That means, in April:

  • If you take the number of cumulative Twitter impressions achieved, divided by the entire Australian population, mentions of One Direction would have reached every individual Australian seventy times.
  • If you take the number of cumulative Twitter impressions achieved, divided by the entire Australian population under 20 years of age, mentions of One Direction would have reached each individual 273 times.
  • If you divide the number of cumulative Twitter impressions achieved, divided by the number of Australians on Twitter, mentions of One Direction would have reached every Australian on Twitter a total of 1,416 times. One thousand, four hundred and sixteen times. Each.

You have to wonder if this means that with all the changes to Facebook, are younger users getting tired of worrying about privacy settings and moving to Twitter? Maybe, but it’s interesting to see how a previously overlooked audience is increasing in size and conversation on Twitter.

So what does this all mean? No one can profess to have all the answers, but as the impact of One Direction’s Australian tour indicates, we have seen an emerging class of Twitter uber content creators, and marketers will have to think about what their progression across multiple social media platforms means for them.

I say…let’s not ‘watch this space’; the smart marketers among us are already engaging with these users and considering their next Twitter strategy.

Keywords used


By Greg Tan.