Twitter's phenomenal growth and cautious moves toward monetization have been the subjects of studies, blogs, articles, and even criticism. However slow to make money, the social media site is making huge percentage increases in registered users.
According to a recent study by Edison Research, "Twitter Usage in America: 2010," 87 percent of Americans are aware of Twitter. In 2008, a mere 5 percent of Americans knew of the micro-blogging site.
Two sets of data were collected. One was conducted in February 2010 and the other over a three year period that spanned from 2008-2010. The former was collected via telephone poll and measured the responses of 1,753 Americans over 12 years old. The second set was compiled as part of the Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia research series.
The 47-page behemoth contains a wealth of information, visual charts, and insights. (One insight is that given the opportunity to keep online services or television, 79 percent would dump their TVs.)
Twitter's awareness rate is roughly equal to Facebook's (88 percent), but Twitter lacks the mass population of users found on Facebook. When the panel was asked if they'd ever used Twitter, just 7 percent -- 17 million Americans -- responded positively. Although Twitter's awareness is higher than ever, a huge population of non-users exists in the United States. Depending on your optimism, this is a source for panic or a reason to figure out how to tap the potential base that exists.
Edison Research's report shows that 50 percent of the surveyed group have at least one live social media profile, which shows that Twitter has yet to "articulate its growth."
However, an opportunity for growth exists for those who use SMS texting regularly, as a correlation can be found between Twitter users and texters. Edison suggested that a comprehensive mobile platform is an area in which Twitter can capitalize.
Hmm. Twitter released their Blackberry API in early April, causing hate and discontent among app developers. Interestingly, Twitter acquired CloudHopper April 23 with the goal of becoming "one of the highest volume SMS programs in the world."
The report delves into the demographic, psychographic, and behavioral profile of Twitter's users, with some key findings:
- Twitter users are more likely to live in higher income households.
- Twitter indexes highly for African-American users (25 percent).
- Roughly 40 percent of Twitter users own three or more computers.
- Forty-seven percent of Twitter users post regularly, while 70 percent of these same users update their profiles on other sites
- Sixty-three percent of Twitter users have a bachelor's degree, graduate credits, or an advanced degree
- Users index highly for owning tech products.
- Product and service information is regularly exchanged between Twitter users.
- Twitterers are early adopters, with 44 percent purchasing new products before their peers.
While Twitter's growth is always the subject to "oohs" worthy of a fireworks display, it's clear that Twitter's management team has a lot of work ahead.
While mobile is obviously one of the keys to the social networking site's future, the research also shows that increasing use for computer users is also an area where the site can expand. This information seems outrageous when compared to the opinions of many a social media "expert" less than a year ago, which predicted Twitter's demise.