40 Fascinating Twitter Facts

Written by Bonnie Boglioli...May 10, 2011

140 characters may seem morsel-sized but billions of them have managed to put Twitter on everyone’s radar from celebrities to marketers. What began as an experimental side project in 2006 has quickly ascended the ranks to become one of the world’s best known and most utilized social networks. Not to mention the world’s first micro-blog and real-time news feed.

There have been a few hiccups along the way, to be sure. It wasn’t that long ago when overload resulted in frequent crashes that tested the patience of users everywhere. What’s more, the network was hardly capable of delivering the content that its growing user-base demanded. A devoted community of developers bridged the wide and often neglected gaps, offering users an array of choices for specialized applications. Yet, some of those chasms are now closing and the San Francisco-based company seeks stronger control at a time when its valuation is sky-rocketing.

Despite Twitter’s rapid metamorphosis from its experimental genesis to a network that has helped to spawn the titles of Social Media Marketer and Social CRM, there remain a surprising number of inaccurate misconceptions about it. Get that cup of coffee ready for a little light reading- we’ve pulled together some of the strongest and most important metrics to date that show Twitter for exactly what it is.

The Basics

1.  Twitter has over 100 million global active users.

2.  Headquartered in San Francisco, Twitter’s user-base is widely international with 70% of traffic coming from outside of the U.S. (Twitter).

3.  The first tweet went out on March 21, 2006, by Founder Jack Dorsey after a mere 8 days of programming. It read, “just setting up my twttr”.

4.  Today there are 1 Billion tweets every 4-5 days (@Twitter).

5.  250 Million= average number of tweets PER DAY.

6.  The average number of tweets per day has risen 177% in the past year (Twitter).

7.  Twitter averaged 460,000 new accounts per day during Q1 of 2011 (Twitter).

8.  Twitter’s market value will be $8.4 Billion USD following recent funding in Q3 of 2011.

About Twitterers

9.  13% of online Americans use Twitter (Pew Research, May 2011).

10. The average Twitterer has 27 followers.

11. Users aged 18-34 account for the largest age demographic in the U.S. at 45% (Quantcast).

12. Urban residents are nearly twice as likely to tweet than their rural counterparts (Pew Research).

13. Roughly one-quarter of all tweets originate in Japan (Twitter). In 2010, Japanese Twitter users numbered 13.2 Million, quadrupling from the previous year (comScore Data Mine). Meanwhile, Facebook has been unable to tap into the Japanese market with minimal growth since 2009.

14. Women slightly edge out men on Twitter (55%) (Quantcast).

15. 47% of users have children (Quantcast).

16. African and Hispanic-Americans are more than twice as likely to use Twitter than Caucasians (Pew Research).

17. Twitter users are more educated than the general population. Just 12% of users report a high school education or less (HubSpot Internet Marketing, Edison Research).

18. Twitter users have higher incomes than the population at large with nearly half of Twitterers earning $50,000 USD or more annually. This compares to 33% of the general population (HubSpot, Edison Research).

19. Many Twitter users are considered early adopters with 19% among the first to purchase new products upon launch compared to 10% of the general population (HubSpot, Edison Research).  

About Traffic & Usage

20. Users are nearly divided equally among those who check the site daily and those who infrequently check it (Pew Research).

21. The 53% of users who check into their accounts daily account for 93% of all daily Twitter visits (Quantcast).

22. 52% of Twitter users update their status daily compared to just 12% of Facebook users (Digital Surgeons).

23. Users post a wide range of content on Twitter, with personal and professional-related tweets ranking highest (Pew Research).

24. Twitter ranks third behind Google and Facebook for driving news traffic. Of Twitter’s daily users, 55% share news story links (Pew Research).

25. One-quarter use Twitter to tweet their location. 7% do so daily (Pew Research).

26. Nearly two-thirds of Twitter users access the site via a mobile phone (Edison Research/Arbitron 2010).

27. The highest tweeting activity historically occurs following major events that attract world-wide attention (Twitter).

28. 177 Million= total tweets on March 11, 2011, the day of the devastating Japanese earthquake and tsunami . This was 37 Million more tweets compared to an average day.

29. The ‘highest rate of sustained tweets ever’ followed the recent death of Steve Jobs with an average of 10,000 tweets PER SECOND (Twitter).

Twitter Marketing & Advertising

30. Twitter earned $45 Million in ad revenue in 2010. That number is expected to triple in 2011.

31. 42% of users utilize the platform to discover more information about a product or service (HubSpot, Edison Research).

32. 67% of users are more likely to buy products from brands they follow on Twitter. This compares favorably to the 51% who buy products from brands they follow on Facebook (HubSpot, Edison Research).

33. 93% of marketers employ social media for marketing purposes. 84% of them utilize Twitter (SocialMediaExaminer, Apr 2011).

34. 73% of marketers plan on increasing their Twitter activity this year (SocialMediaExaminer).

35. Companies that use Twitter gain twice the number of leads each month than their non-Tweeting counterparts (HubSpot, Edison Research).

36. Large businesses report the strongest interest in increasing Twitter activity with 77% reporting they will do so (SocialMediaExaminer).

37. 72% of marketers ‘new’ to social media intend to learn more about Twitter. For veteran social media marketers (those who have used social media for 3-5+ years), that number dwindles to 45% (SocialMediaExaminer).

Twitter Development

38. There are over 100,000 third-party Twitter applications have been built using the Twitter API to accommodate user demands that allow users to post photos, advertise, automate tweets, play games, track analytics and more.

39. Twitter recently acquired one of the most popular Twitter applications, TweetDeck, in April of 2011. It is estimated that some 13% of all tweets from non official apps originate from the application. 

40. Peaking in mid-2010, interest in the Twitter development API has declined from a high of 5.0 Search Volume Index to its current 3.0 (Google Trends- “Twitter API”) as Twitter has tightened the reigns on third-party apps. 


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