April 7th, 2009
In a March 18th blog entry on Nielsen.com titled “Twitter’s Tweet Smell Of Success,” the full extent of Twitter’s astounding growth is vividly illustrated. As you’ll see in the chart below, while Facebook dwarfs Twitter in total unique monthly visitors, it is now growing at a sixth of Twitter’s rate. Still, going from 20m unique monthly visitors to 65m in a year is certainly astounding in itself. (I’m refraining from discussing the “m” word in this posting, i.e. “monetizing” fantastically popular web sites.)
The Twitter phenomena is compounded by usage that Nielsen was unable to track. As the blog notes:
“PC Web usage of Twitter.com doesn’t tell the whole story. The ability to twitter via a mobile phone-whether through the mobile Web or via text messages-is a driving factor in the social network’s success. In January, 735,000 unique visitors accessed the Twitter Web site through their mobile phones. The average unique visitor went to Twitter.com 14 times during the month and spent an average of seven minutes on the site.
“Finally, text messaging offers a third platform for consumers and businesses alike to take part in the twitter craze. In the last quarter of 2008, 812,000 unique users sent or received Twitter text messages from AT&T or Verizon cell phones. There was an average of nearly 240 tweets per person for the quarter.”
The blog also explodes the myth of Twitter being favored mainly by kids and teens.
The text accompanying the chart above notes:
“Twitterers (a.k.a. Tweeters) are not primarily teens or college students as you might expect. In fact, in February the largest age group on Twitter was 35-49; with nearly 3 million unique visitors, comprising almost 42 percent of the site’s audience. We found that the majority of people visit Twitter.com while at work, with 62 percent of the combo unique audience accessing the site from work only versus 35 percent that accessed it from home only.”
Like many other observers, Nielsen states that much of the recent growth on Twitter is a result of corporations discovering its value as a marketing tool.
A website called Tracking Twitter (not a dead site) is “a real-time listing of the top media, entertainment, and consumer product feeds” being tracked by a Electric Artists, a “digital brand management and strategy agency.” Their #1 rated Twitterer is Whole Foods. Interestingly, only 383,816 folks follow this tweet. Can that have a truly significant impact on a grocery chain with nearly 300 stores and $8 billion in sales in its last fiscal year?