Give Twitter Credit – Mashable Passes TechCrunch In Unique Monthly Visits; Dell Makes $3m

I’ve been wondering if and when this was going to happen – according to website traffic tracker, May saw the first time that Mashable passed rival TechCrunch in unique monthly visits to their respective websites.

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Now, that chart only goes back a year (I don’t have access to Compete’s premium features), but I’m not sure Mashable has ever been more popular than TechCrunch, certainly in terms of traffic. And I also suspect that Mashable’s pretty impressive gain between April to May 2009 of almost 400,000 new visitors might have a little something to do with Twitter.

Now, while it’s fair to say that the follower counts of @Mashable and @TechCrunch aren’t different enough to be that much of an issue – 804K to 705K respectively – @Mashable is definitely a more high-profile account on the network. The @Mashable account tweets an average of 21.5 times per day, in comparison to @TechCrunch’s 15.2. Again, that doesn’t seem an enormous disparity, but it is a difference of over 25 per cent. And as both accounts predominately link to their own stories, it makes a huge difference in click-throughs.

@Mashable is also the second-most re-tweeted user on Twitter, behind @tweetmeme. @TechCrunch ranks at #39.

Moreover, @Mashable is frequently amongst the most-mentioned recommendations on #followfriday – they’ve had well over 5,000 endorsements since TopFollowFriday started tracking the meme. @TechCrunch has had 445.

Now, accurate web stats are sometimes more of an art than a science, and may have different numbers than other tracking websites, and none of this really matters a lot unless the trend continues. But it goes to show the power that a strong presence on Twitter can bring to an already well-established and popular brand. And that can easily translate to an increase in visitors and advertisement clicks – something that’s very welcome in this challenging economic period.

And it’s not just Mashable, either – Silicon Alley Insider is reporting that Dell has made about $3 million worth of sales directly through the Twitter network. The article is a little inaccurate – it reports that the @delloutlet account has over 600,000 followers, and that this then equates to about “$2 of revenue per Twitter follower per year.” Of course, six months ago Dell had less than a quarter of the network it boasts now, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the bulk of those sales had come in this latter period, too. Maybe just the last three or four months.

Many moons ago I wrote an article about the power that is afforded a brand who has a million or more followers on Twitter. Some of the numbers in that piece are now a little dated, but the overall point remains quite valid, and I encourage you to read it.

Of the leading brands on Twitter, @cnnbrk leads the way with over 1.75 million followers. @NYTimes has over one million. @Google has 823K, and right behind is @Mashable, with 804K. According to Twittercounter, this puts them above the one million mark by this time next month. Which could equate to a 20% boost in Twitter-to-website traffic, too.

I still think a lot of people aren’t really getting just how relevant Twitter is as a way of quickly and freely moving eyeballs to your website. It’s an immediate and vast audience, the majority of whom are hungry for information, particularly when it’s relevant to social media, which of course is what Mashable is all about. And the benefits aren’t solely for the major players, either – I’ve already written about my own experiments with traffic tracking. If the big guys are getting a similar (or greater) percentage of click-throughs, the immediate impact on their sites must be extraordinary.

So much so that I predict that, a couple of years from now, we’ll all be wondering what the heck we did to promote our online work before the network got popular. And those blogs and websites that have been established for years, and had to do things the hard way to make it big, will proudly display the letters B.T. after their logos – Before Twitter.