In the first quarter of 2011, Twitter posted year-on-year user growth of more than 250 percent.
Incredibly, it maintained 200 percent year-on-year increases for another 12 months, through to Q1 2012. But in Q2 2012, Twitter’s user growth percentage fell sharply, and it’s never recovered.
In their Q3 2014 earnings report, Twitter recorded 284 million active users, representing year-on-year growth of just 23 percent – the lowest 12-month total Twitter has ever seen.
For the sake of comparison, when Facebook had this many active users, it was still seeing year-on-year growth of more than 200 percent. Indeed, Facebook’s growth didn’t fall below 25 percent until it already had one billion users.
This tells us two things. One, Twitter is never going to be as big as Facebook. And two, Twitter may not ever be that big at all. Facebook now has over a billion users more than Twitter, and that gap is widening – Facebook is pulling away. Meanwhile, Twitter’s growth is slowing, as we’ve seen. Even getting to half a billion users will take close to a year and a half if they can maintain their current growth rate, which seems unlikely. All things considered, there’s a strong possibility that Twitter will never reach half a billion users, let alone a billion.