Fewer but better? While this saying makes a lot of sense if you are dealing with soldiers or even employees, does it also hold true when it comes to users of a social networking service like Twitter? Well, given its most recent user statistics, it looks like Twitter will soon learn if a slowly growing but “better” US users make a difference where it counts-revenues. According to a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Twitter counts around 15%of the US’ adult Internet user population as members. This represents some growth for the San Francisco-based microblogging service. Total adult US users went up by 2% from 2011′s figure and 7% from 2010′s figure. Not a bad increase. However, considering the service’s attrition rate, this slower growth curve might be a problem. Indeed, the growth in new user acquisition is slowing quite a bit for Twitter.
On a more optimistic note, Twitter’s active users are showing a greater level of engagement. This is where the “better” part comes in. The Pew report says that 8% of Twitter’s total base are active on the site daily. This increased engagement marks a huge increase for Twitter since only 4% of its total user base used the service daily in May 2011. In 2010, only 2% of online US adults made use of Twitter on a daily basis
Why the increase in engagement? The Pew report does not straight-out supply an answer, but it does share enough information as to point the finger at increased numbers of mobile phone users. According to the report, users of smart phones are more likely to be users of Twitter. Indeed, the 140-character limit of Twitter tweets is ideal for mobile users on the go. Just enter information, share, and move.
Analysts and observers of Twitter say that the report is bittersweet for the microblogging company struggling to turn its popularity into cold hard revenue. On the downside, the service is not logging the same huge volumes of new users as it did previously. However, it is offset by the fact that there is an increasingly huge loyal base that is quite committed to the service. This highly engaged subgroup might make advertisers excited. Indeed, in the youth market of 18 to 24, a large chunk, 31%, use Twitter.
It would be tempting to credit Twitter’s “stickiness” for the higher level of engagement Analysts say the higher level of engagement might be due less to Twitter’s compelling nature and more because people are now just figuring out how Twitter works and how it can benefit them. It is a question more of adaptation rather than an increase in the basic value of Twitter.