Twitter and the growth of the active passive user!

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GlobalWebIndex in this week’s publication of their latest dataset, GWI 8 for quarter 4 of 2012, rank Twitter as the fastest growing global social network.

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The majors (our highlighting) we reckon occupy the following spots:

  • Twitter (1)
  • Facebook (2)
  • Google+ (3)
  • Linkedin (6)
  • Pinterest (8)
  • Tumblr (12)

No mention, we could find of the new Myspace  (or even the classic version) perhaps it’s in Other!

They reckon that Twitter’s Mau’s (monthly active users) reached 288 million and translate this into “ An incredible 21% of the global internet population now use Twitter actively on a monthly basis.” Comparatively elsewhere Facebook are reckoned to have reached just over a billion during September last year.

GlobalWebIndex provide further stats at the account level, and say “If we compare this to the number of accounts, we see that 36% of the global internet population have an account, equal to 485 million 16 to 65 years olds by GWI estimates. If we compare this to Q2 2012, we saw global Twitter account penetration at 32%, or 408 million, meaning growth in accounts was slower than that of active users in the period. Crucially for Twitter and its advertisers, this shows that Twitter is doing a great job in driving active engagement with 59% of account holders now active on a monthly basis, up from 50% in Q2 2012.”

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On a country basis we lag the leaders in 20th  position (of the 31 surveyed) and even in Europe (again with our highlighting) can only achieve fifth place out of seven!

They attribute the US growth to three main factors:

  • “Mobile Devices: The US for many years was a mobile internet laggard, but in 2012 active mobile internet usage expanded from 37% to 43% of US internet users and tablet from 8% to 18%. Also as 31% of US mobile users are now on an iOS device, deep Twitter integration into iOS was a game changer (as reflected in the mobile growth above).
  • Older Demographics:  Over-55s are the fastest growing demographic on Twitter! Active usage grew 116% between Q2 and Q4 2012 while active usage among 45-54s increased 81% in the same period. Twitter proved to be the fastest growing social platform in the latter demographic group. In an ageing population, this represents tens of millions of well-healed users on Twitter.
  • Mass Media Integration: TV, films, radio, sports and advertising provided Twitter with an incredible level of exposure, and this is already translating into more users. This integration has provided people with reasons to use Twitter that go well beyond social.”

On the Mobile front, certainly on the tablet side, it looks as if that future growth will be  fuelled by a significant increase in US device sales which today Transparency have predicted will rise from 2012’s 34.2 million to 71.6 million by 2018  a compound annual growth rate of around 13.1%.

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Now onto that active passive user (Mapu?). Basically rather than tweet you sort of use it for a myriad of purposes classified as passive by GlobalWebIndex. They say “Amazingly, only 51% of active users claim to have posted a tweet in the past month. This means that half the active user base is just reading, reacting or using Twitter as a source of discovery. The caricature of the average Twitter user banally talking about what they had for breakfast is dying.”

The last discerned trend pleases us!

We found it noteworthy that of the 23 actions listed the mobile growth was greater than the PC in almost 50% of the activities (11 of 23) and whilst it’s only by inspection we see more mobile red than PC blue!

The to us absolutely key one for business is the dominance of mobile in the “Bought a product or service” category showing a growth rate of  perhaps 3 times the PC figure (ie approx 50%+ v’s 17% ish).

Their conclusion as far as brands are concerned is “Overall, content is the ever growing mega opportunity of the new social landscape.”

We still reckon mobile comes before (or at least should be inserted in front of) content!

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