By any measure, the number of consumers who use Twitter is small. And it’s been a tough audience to measure because so many surveys combine Twitter with other forms of social media. A new report by Pew Internet asked consumers specifically about Twitter use. Their results contain valuable insights for marketers.
The Twitter universe encompasses about 8% of online users or 6% of the U.S. population. Pew Internet analysts have been steadily tracking Twitter use for the past 2 years and report that the social network is growing. Currently 2% of the U.S. population uses Twitter daily.
The Pew report identified several key consumer groups which are far more likely than others to be Twitter users:
- Young adults between the ages of 18–29 14%
- African Americans 13%
- Latinos 18%
- Urbanites 11%
The data also reveal that women (10%) are more likely than men (7%) to use Twitter. And consumers with at least some college education (9%) use Twitter at higher rates than those with less education. The super-user group, those who check Twitter more than once a day, makes up 24% of site users. But a significant minority, 41%, rarely or never checks Twitter.
Marketers may wonder if it makes sense to use Twitter conversations to engage users. After all, as Chris O’Brien emphasized in his report for San Jose Mercury News, Twitter users aren’t talking to each other the way they might on a site like Facebook. But the tool proved itself useful recently for airlines that were trying to pacify and rebook stranded passengers. According to a New York Times report, airlines were able to provide up-to-date information via Twitter to these passengers.
Pew Internet researcher Tom Rainie reports that Twitter remains, “the domain of elite activist customers.” For some marketers, that position may be exactly the edge they need in a competitive situation.
[Source: Smith, Aaron, Rainie, Lee. 8% of online Americans use Twitter . pewinternet.org. 9 Dec. 2010. Web. 12 Jan. 2011; O’Brien, Chris. Twitter users may be diverse, but are they talking to each other? Mercurynews.com. 14 Dec. 2010. Web. 12 Jan. 2011; Severson, Kim. 8% of online Americans use Twitter. New York Times. 29 Dec. 2010. Web. 12 Jan. 2011]