Twitter ‘Fleets’ Meet Tepid Early Reception: Survey

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Cheyne Gateley/VIP

Twitter’s version of stories, dubbed Fleets, finally became available to the U.S., but users haven’t flocked to it en masse. 

That’s according to data provided exclusively to Variety Intelligence Platform by YouGov, which found that 60% of U.S. adults who said they use Twitter monthly had not heard of Fleets in a survey conducted on November 24.  

And even though almost 40% of those respondents had heard of Fleets, many familiar with the feature haven’t yet felt an urge to try it out, YouGov data suggests. 

Almost 61% of U.S. adults who said they use Twitter monthly and had heard of Fleets reported not having used the feature (either posting their own Fleet or viewing Fleets). Meanwhile, just 6% of self-reported Twitter users aware of Fleets said they had both posted their own Fleets and viewed others’. 

To be fair, the global Fleets rollout just finished on November 19 after Twitter slowed the rollout to address performance issues, while some users have reported not yet having Fleet access despite having updated their app. 

But modest Fleet adoption does have other explanations, beyond being inaccessible to some (which seems to be at odds with Twitter’s availability announcement) or simply being too new. 

For example, among respondents who said they’d viewed fleets but not posted their own, the most commonly cited reason for not doing so was, “I don’t want to post that type of content on Twitter.” The No. 2 and 3 most commonly cited reasons for not posting Fleets had to do with not seeing a need to post ephemeral content or content in general on Twitter. 

If inaccessibility to Fleets was bigger issue, you’d expect “other” or “I don’t know how to” to be two of the biggest reasons why this group isn’t yet Fleeting on Twitter. 

The results of that question aren’t all that surprising, given Twitter’s identity is more about having your voice heard, which can become harder to do if your voice is disappearing after 24 hours. That’s not to say there’s no room for Fleets on the platform but that it will take time for some users to open up to a more casual posting style.  

Fortunately for Twitter and the brands that have a presence on it, Fleets may already be a daily habit for some. Of respondents who said they had viewed or posted a Fleet, 69% anticipated checking Fleets others post at least once a week, while 39% think they will check Fleets at least once a day. 

Those type of numbers are good for Twitter in suggesting that checking Fleets has not just been a one-off activity for some.  

In fact, Fleets may be responsible for helping Twitter fend off competition from other social apps, at least with a small subset of users. 

While the majority of survey respondents who had viewed fleets or posted their own indicate it won’t change how much the use the Twitter mobile app, 18% agreed Fleets encouraged them to use Twitter mobile more often. 

That has implications for Fleets as an advertising product but also how they are utilized by brand accounts on Twitter in general.  

While most Fleet users in YouGov’s survey understandably signaled they mostly want to see brands post Fleets relating to new products or discounts, what’s more useful to know is that just 13% indicated a strong opposition against brands using the new Twitter stories feature at all. 

So while some brands may not currently be seeing their fellow brands aggressively posting Fleets, there seems to be an opportunity to use the new feature without upsetting followers or coming across as inauthentic.