Nearly one in five web users have sent a tweet
Twitter may continue to get outsize attention considering the true size of its user base, which eMarketer puts at 20.6 million in the US this year, but ongoing interest on the part of the media and many brands has made for a wealth of research into user behavior that marketers can absorb into their strategies for communicating on the social network.
In July 2011, Polaris Marketing Research found that 18% of online Americans had sent a tweet in the past 60 days—higher than the 11% of online Americans eMarketer estimates access their Twitter account each month. Significantly, the Polaris research also showed that most people who access Twitter at all also use it actively.
Overall, 22% of web users said they had reviewed a tweet in the past two months. That put the gap between reading tweets and sending them at just 4 percentage points. To be sure, many respondents may have sent only a single tweet over the span of 60 days, as research has long indicated the majority of tweets come from a relatively small number of highly active users. But this could also be another indication that Twitter is becoming stickier for the average user.
Polaris found only slight differences in behavior among men and women. Variations were more significant when the web user population was broken down by age, ethnicity, income and region. Overall, 25- to 34-year-olds were most likely to have sent a tweet (30%), followed closely by 18- to 24-year-olds and Hispanics of all ages (tied at 29%). The youngest respondents, ages 18 to 24, were most likely to have read a tweet, at 36%.
The survey also confirmed findings over the past two years that black and Hispanic internet users are more active on the microblogging service than whites.
With Twitter well past its fifth birthday and entrenched in popular culture, users may be settling down to more mature behaviors. The service’s US growth rate has tapered off as more of those internet users who are interested have tried it out, and marketers must keep up with the ongoing evolution of their usage to best target their own efforts.