A new study has revealed that Twitter is the fastest-growing social network in the world, adding 40 percent more active users in 2012 to finish ahead of Facebook and the fast-climbing (but still oddly quiet) Google+.
This data comes courtesy of GlobalWebIndex, who have expanded on their findings in an updated post, which also reveals several changes in the way that people are using Twitter.
Of greatest interest is the growth of the “passive” Twitter user. All social media platforms define an active user as somebody who engages with the platform in some way over the past month, but on Twitter, only 51 percent of all active users claim to have posted a tweet over that period. Which means that almost half of all Twitter folk – 100+ million people – are simply reading them.
Ergo, we may have to redefine what we consider a user of social media, certainly inasmuch as how we measure marketing success, because, of course, the actual consumption of content (product and service messages, and so on) is, when you think about it, far more important to brands and marketers than whether users actually contribute to it (with messages, retweets, Likes etc). The tricky part is the former is far very to see (and thus evaluate), and has many other benefits (such as expanding reach, increasing the chance of something going viral, and so on) and the latter is far less measurable, certainly immediately. And once those all-important sales figures have come it, it might just be too late.
Additionally, the way that people are using Twitter – we’ll call them the active, active users – has also shifted. The days of sharing what you had for breakfast or other kinds of “pointless babble” are, it would seem, increasingly a thing of the past, with the most popular activities on Twitter now including behaviour such as organising events, tweeting whilst watching TV shows or movies, and posting positive comments about brands or their products. And for mobile Twitter users, tweeting about products they have purchased or services they have used is their number-one activity.
This is all very interesting, of course. And this data has huge ramifications for the future of Twitter, both as a medium for business and as a business per se. What would make these findings even richer is more detail from GlobalWebIndex on exactly how they were obtained.