At The Guardian Activate summit in April of this year, Katie Stanton, Twitter’s vice president of international strategy, announced that the platform had 200 million registered accounts.
Back in May we reported on data from Twopcharts that calculated that Twitter had seen it’s 300 millionth registered profile – according to Twopcharts, that number is now up to over 360 million. And counting.
So what gives? Why can’t we get a straight answer on exactly how many users Twitter has?
Twitter hasn’t updated their official tally since April, but clearly the membership has grown in that time. Indeed, Twitter’s own data suggested that back in March the network was seeing 460,000 signups per day.
Let’s assume that number has been consistent – it might have got bigger, but to be safe we’ll take it as our low estimate. This means that from April 28 (the day of The Guardian summit) until August 25 (yesterday) Twitter should have picked up 119 days x 460,000 users = 54,740,000 users, giving us a total of 254,740,000 registered profiles.
Of course, the jury is still very much out on how many of these Twitter profiles are active users. Some studies have suggested that number is as low as 21 million, although we’re taking that with a hefty pinch.
Part of the problem is the label – defining an active user isn’t the simple task that it might seen. As I wrote back in May:
If you’ve never sent a tweet are you automatically a non-active Twitter user? What if you don’t write but follow lots of accounts and read Twitter each and every day – surely that makes you very active? More so, I would argue, than somebody who posts once or twice a month, and does nothing else. But statistically, at least in terms of pure, measurable data (and the way most people see it), the latter is more ‘active’ than the former.
However, all of this guesswork could be eliminated if Twitter was just more forthcoming on their release of key data such as total user numbers and active user numbers. Facebook is very public with this information. All of which leads me to believe that Twitter’s user numbers aren’t as good as they should be. And their active user numbers, while perhaps not quite as low as 10% of the overall base, aren’t all that good, either.
Of course, all of this idle speculation could be quickly nullified by an update from Twitter themselves. So, over to you then, Mr Dorsey. Please put us out of our misery.