The study, conducted by social-media market research firm Canvs, discovered that shoppers tend to Tweet their intent an average of 72 hours before making a purchase in order to solicit feedback on the make and model they're considering.
Researchers also found that after making a purchase, new owners jump back on Twitter to post a picture of their new car, adding to the 2.2 million Tweets every year that include photos taken by people showing off their vehicles.
That means, says Twitter, "there are over 327,000 Tweets every day about shopping, owning, wanting and loving cars."
What the researchers found, Twitter spokesperson Genevieve Wong told Edmunds, is that "those considering or in the process of making a new car purchase are three times more likely to share that experience on Twitter than on Facebook."
One reason for this, according to the study, is that Twitter conversations tend to take place "in real time," with auto shoppers Tweeting from a dealership, when they see a car on the road or when a commercial comes on television. And those Tweets spark responses — both positive and negative — from others who have experience with that particular model.
As an example, within 24 hours of the unveiling of the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Camaro on May 16, there were thousands of Tweets and re-Tweets from fans, many of whom were posting from the gala introductory event. A lot of those posts included photos of the new model, which in turn provoked comments on the new design, which then prompted comments on the comments.
Anyone in the market for the new model found no shortage of opinions, images and Camaro stories to factor into their purchase decision.
Another reason that Twitter plays an important role in the car-shopping process, according to the research, is that "Twitter users are real car owners and shoppers."
Although automakers, dealers and salespeople routinely use social media as an effective means of reaching customers, Twitter says that more than 75 percent of auto-related conversations on its site are consumer-driven.
The study found that "Tweets about ownership and recommendations outweigh discussion about finding the 'best deal' by a ratio of 4:1. That means Twitter shoppers are using the platform for meaningful conversations about cars; they aren't just discussing discounts or sales."
Finally, the researchers found that Twitter users are serious about buying a vehicle, moving the conversations "from awareness and excitement into consideration and intent." According to the study, 60 percent of the shopping conversations on Twitter take place during the research phase of the process, and 30 percent occur "during purchase."
The researchers say that combined with the posting of photos and Tweets once a proud owner gets the new car home, that's a good indication that "Twitter plays a role throughout the automotive purchase journey."
Edmunds says: Twitter can be a useful research tool for consumers seeking additional input before making a purchase decision.