Twitter’s Dara Nasr: ‘Authenticity and dialogue are two important trends in advertising’

Dara Nasr in front of a wall full of tweets
Dara Nasr lays out the three Twitter trends that brands should be aware of

Twitter has researched online conversations that show what brands should be mindful of.

Fan-built worlds, social finance and "The Great Reset" are the three top Twitter trends to emerge over the past two years.

Analysing billions of tweets over a two-year period, Twitter has identified the trends and has shared some lessons for brands.

The Great Reset relates to healing the planet and, particularly around lockdown, ourselves; fan-built worlds includes digital communities that connect like-minded people around core “aesthetics” such as steampunk, NFTs, eSports and other trends; and social finance relates to crypto currencies, NFTs and other virtual assets.

Twitter UK managing director Dara Nasr said brands need to better understand user sentiment when connecting to consumers online, and highlighted The Great Reset as a good example.

“When it comes to personal wellbeing, we've seen an 86% increase in the mention of the term 'doom scrolling' through timelines, where people are just absorbing negative news. 

Secondly, there has been a 253% increase in the mention of “greenwashing”, he said.

“This is important for corporations because people now expect brands to step up, and if a brand says one thing but does something else, it is going to be held to account.”

On the second theme of fan-built worlds, Nasr said there had been a 57% decrease in the use of the term "stan" or "stanning" – which indicates that people now view themselves as part of digital communities, sitting alongside an artist or football club they might support, rather than being merely a fan that looks up to them.  

“The fans are calling the shots and making the rules and it's all about immersion and experience,” Nasr added. “With the concept of NFTs, fan tokens and various other things, they're moving to fan-built virtual universes. There's a real kind of collaboration; it's not just about spending money or going huge; fans are building these brands, so why not create an environment where they can be part of it.”

In terms of social finance, there is a lot of talk about cryptocurrencies, NFTs and other digital monetary assets that appeal more to younger generations.

“We see 11 times more tweets about NFTs than we did about working from home in 2021,” Nasr said. “Finance was quite a dry subject associated with middle-aged white men in tight-fitting suits. But it is now being embraced by different generations and it's becoming more fun. So we've seen a 149% year-on-year increase in the use of emojis in financial conversations.”

So what does this mean for brands?

“It’s really important that brands appreciate the pressure people are under, but also how conscious people are of what's going on in the world of what's needed,” Nasr said.

“People sniff out inauthenticity really quite easily. If you’ve got nothing to say, that’s better than saying something you don’t mean. The message for brands is that anything you are doing that is purpose-driven and can be backed up is great, but don't talk the talk if you cannot walk the walk.”

Another important aspect for advertisers, especially when it comes to digital communities, is that the rules of engagement are changing.

“Advertising has always been around a monologue. What I mean by that is an advertiser says something and hopes that a consumer buys their product. Actually, where a lot of value comes from is dialogue.”

The lesson for advertisers is to listen to what consumers are saying about your brand and ignore their views and concerns at your peril.

The Great Reset

Fan-built worlds

Social finance

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