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Twitter’s Tweet Smell Of Success
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Twitter’s Tweet Smell Of Success

Michelle McGiboney, Nielsen Online

Twitter.com continues to grow in popularity and importance in both the consumer and corporate worlds. No longer just a platform for friends to stay connected in real time, it has evolved into an important component of brand marketing. Unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for the month.  Zimbio and Facebook followed, growing 240 percent and 228 percent, respectively.

Fastest Growing Member Community Destinations in February 2009

RANK Site Feb 08 Feb 09 % growth
1 Twitter.com 475,000 7,038,000 1382%
2 Zimbio 809,000 2,752,000 240%
3 Facebook 20,043,000 65,704,000 228%
4 Multiply 821,000 2,394,000 192%
5 Wikia 1,381,000 3,758,000 172%
source: Nielsen NetView, 2/09, U.S., Home and Work

Twitter Most Popular Among Working Adults

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.

Unique Visitors to Twitter.com by Age Demographic

Age Group Unique Audience Composition %
2-17 250,000 3.6
18 – 24 ** **
25 – 34 1,379,000 19.6
35 – 49 2,935,000 41.7
55+ 1,165,000 16.6
65+ 477,000 6.8
source: Nielsen NetView, 2/09, U.S., Home and Work

**These demographics have insufficient sample sizes

Twitter On The Move

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.

It will be interesting to watch the evolution of Twitter as it continues to gain momentum. In an unstable economy, it might prove to be an economical and important part of an employer’s marketing strategy that helps to keep consumers aware of and connected to their brand.

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