Is Twitter Losing Momentum?
By Tom Ryan
According to a recent study from RJ Metrics, Twitter’s growth in
new accounts slowed from 7.8 million per month last summer to around 6.2 million
currently. The report also found that only 17 percent of Twitter users updated
their accounts in December, an all-time low.
Of the 75 million Twitter users
identified at the close of 2009, roughly 25 percent of accounts had no followers
and about 40 percent never made a single tweet. Four-fifths of the user base
have tweeted less than ten times, and just 17 percent of Twitter users sent
a message in the month of December. Also, the percentage of accounts sending
out tweets has steadily declined over the past six months.
On RJ Metric’s blog,
Roger Moore, the company’s CEO, stressed that the results weren’t as bad as
they seem. Non-tweeters appear to be new users who signed up after 2008, and
early adopters are less likely to use it frequently. On the plus side, the
6.2 million sign-ups per month – or two to three per second – shows that “Twitter
is still growing like a rocketship.” Also, Mr. Moore said his firm’s analysis
reveals “tremendous loyalty and engagement” from those Twitter users who stay
on the system after their first week as members. “In fact, those users who stay
become more active over time, so much so that they make up for the missing
activity from those users who leave,” wrote Mr. Moore.
In all, with 75 million
total accounts, an active user-base of around 20 percent still leaves around
15 million highly active tweeters, he noted.
Writing in The Sydney Morning
Herald, Gordon Farrar said the growth
in Twitter may be peaking but he said Twitter users will eventually dwindle
down to those motivated to continually deliver content.
“To be surprised that
very few people tweet and that most have few followers is the same as being
surprised that most people don’t have their own radio show or newspaper column,”
wrote Mr. Farrar. “Once the short-term trend-followers
and the rubber-neckers disappear, once the loudmouth online hawkers see their
message is being ignored and drift to the next money-spinning opportunity,
Twitter will settle into a useful everyday sifter and disseminator of online
information. It will become the filter of choice of those who want to be fed
media, technology, business and political news.”
But Todd Wasserman, writing for Brandweek,
said that much like Second Life, Twitter “has become a wasteland for brands.”
While it may work for celebrities, the millions of tweets sent out by many
major brands have resulted in scant followers. He also quoted marketing people
that claimed Facebook had copied most of Twitter’s best features.
“I’m not a big fan of Twitter,” Joel Ewanick, group vp of marketing for Hyundai,
told Brandweek. “[Twitter has] become the butt of a joke. You start
seeing in popular culture people making fun of Twitter.”
What social media vehicle do you think is strongest from a B2C standpoint and
why? Is Twitter an effective vehicle for brands and retailers to reach consumers?
Data on Twitter’s Users and Engagement – RJ Metrics
- Twitter isn’t about to fall from its perch – The
Sydney Morning Herald
- Is Twitter the Next Second Life? – Brandweek
- Retailer Twitter Feed – RetailWire