Twitter in Circle Jerk Shocker

Apparently 7 percent of the Twitter audience in the UK accounts for 70 percent of the total time devoted to Twitter by the audience as a whole. Quite an amazing stat but one that is unsurprising. Twitter is certainly where the online conversation is happening now and there is a lot of innovation happening on top of the platform but this sort of weighting makes it clear that Twitter as a long-term, viable platform is not as clear cut a winner as the Twitterati (that 7%) would have you believe.

Twitter visitor activity for Jan 2010 - UK only

More from the UK study on Mashable.

This news is kind of troubling for Twitter, especially as the company is rumoured to be launching an advertising platform in the near near future. via Sean McDonald.

I’ve been bearish on Twitter for precisely this reason for the longest time. The power users have driven the company’s explosive growth but, just like and ad agency, if they leave the smaller less engaged users will lose interest and flock to the next service. Facebook on the other hand, offers a far more compelling experience and ties you in with your own content (pic, video etc).

via Twitters tweet for the Twitterati – Bad Language.

8 Responses to Twitter in Circle Jerk Shocker

  1. […] RT @edlee: 7% of the Twitter audience in the UK accounts for 70 percent of time on Twitter [link to post] via […]

  2. […] 7% of the Twitter audience in the UK accounts for 70 percent of time on Twitter [link to post] via […]

  3. […] Ed Lee from Blogging Me, Blogging You wrote an entry today entitled “Twitter in Circle Jerk Shocker”. […]

  4. Parker says:

    I don’t quite get your ad agency analogy, but I agree with you about being bearish on Twitter as “the next biggest thing!”

    That doesn’t mean it won’t be viable as an advertising platform. In fact, it might even make it a more successful advertising platform. Wouldn’t a web-savvy group of power users that demanded a lot from their ads result in more valuable click-throughs?

  5. Ed Lee says:

    hey parker – some smaller ad agencies are built on one main client and, while they have other large clients, if that main client leaves, the rest will follow. downtown partners in toronto had the north american budweiser business, as well as many other prestigious clients – but when bud left it was obvious that the agency wasn’t going to be able to sustain the levels of staffing so client service/creativity would suffer…so the other clients walked as well.

    twitter is very similar in that if there is an exodus from twitter by those who make it such a compelling experience, a lot of others will leave too.

  6. Dan Hocking says:

    I’m with Parker – doesn’t that set up Twitter for a much more effective targeted ad platform? If you know who the power users are, and you know how long they’re spending on Twitter, and you know what they’re seeing, you *should* be able to present them with ads that target most effectively, and blow that 0.15 CTR out of the water. That said, most power users are solid on their Twitter workflow, and may just ignore the ads if perceived as “noise” – which has been the problem in my mind around introducing an ad-supported platform on Twitter anyway. The vast majority of my access is via third-party apps – how does the ad platform interface with that without being completely disruptive?

  7. Dan Hocking says:

    Of course, I’ve taken it completely away from the original point, so let me try to get back to it. Question, Ed: do you think Facebook’s numbers would be comparable to this, in terms of percentages?

  8. Ed Lee says:

    Dan – lots of good stuff in both of your comments!

    i actually disagree with your assertion than this sets up Twitter for an platform…if only 7% of users are actually engaged then your audience is shrinking considerably. a better strategy would be to engage these power users and provide content they would be more likely to rebroadcast or engage with. something than an ad platform doesn’t really help with. we have to remember that twitter’s user base is a) inflated by people who have come, taken a look and decided it is not for them b) filled with multiple accounts and c) the same size or smaller than the installed user base of the social game farmville on facebook…let’s not get ahead of ourselves of how much of a game changer twitter is, will or may be.

    you make a good point about 3rd party apps – although i find it tough to believe the pattern would not repeat itself there. according to the nielsen study, these numbers are consistent across most social networks, apart from facebook which shows a far higher and broader engagement in terms of time on the site. more on facebook’s stats in the original study here: http://blog.nielsen.com/nielsenwire/global/social-norms-twitter-users-follow-the-797-rule-in-the-u-k/

    thanks for the comments – lot’s of thought provoking stuff!

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