Thursday, April 15, 2010

Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim: Twitter Accounts Cross the 105 Million Mark

The quest to decipher just how many actual users there are of Twitter continues. Yesterday at the Chirp conference being held for Twitter developers, Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told the group that the number of registered users (let’s call them accounts) is 105 million. That is considerably more the 65 million that comScore has estimated the number at. Macworld reports

Twitter has 105 million registered users, with 300,000 new users signing up every day, Stone said, opening Twitter’s Chirp conference at the Palace of Fine Arts before an audience of just shy of 1,000 developers. That user figure is more than a recent estimate from comScore, which pegged Twitter’s user base at 65 million.

The Twitter API (application programming interface) fields 3 billion requests per day, Williams said. “That’s bigger than all but a couple of Web sites in the world,” he said, claiming it makes Twitter “about the same size as Yahoo.” He said the service has grown 1,500 percent each year on average since “Twitter Inc.” was founded three years ago this month. The service is also fielding about 19 billion searches a month, Williams said, which compares to about 90 billion for Google.

Those are big numbers for sure. The question is just how many of those registered users represent actual active Twitter users. I know of many accounts that sit dormant to protect a brand or have been abandoned by people who caught Twitter fever then determined that there was no value in the service for them. I like to caution in these instances that the hyper usage levels that are seen my social media “experts” and “gurus” and (gulp…) “ninjas” are not reflective of how much the service is used by folks that are not in the industry.

Then there is the question with regard to using Twitter as to how much traffic is seen directly on the Twitter site vs. third party apps like TweetDeck etc. Conventional wisdom has been that the traffic is a 50/50 split but Stone stated that it more like 75/25 with the larger number representing those who do not use the Twitter site to use Twitter. You would expect him to make the numbers appear that way to show how much potential growth there is for the actual site traffic thus giving advertisers the impression that the future is much brighter for sure.

Other tidbits revealed at the conference include the production of an Android app, the 100,000 downloads of Twitter’s official Blackberry app (which is pretty good, I must admit) and the purchase of a one man company which created what will be the basis of the official iPhone app that is on the short term horizon as well.

Since this was being said at a developer conference the Twitter execs who were speaking tried to put nervous Twitter developers at ease. A Reuters report says

Twitter sought to reassure independent software developers at the conference that the company’s moves to add its own home-grown features and versions of the service would not shut out the more than 100,000 third-party programs that have been built to work alongside and enhance Twitter.

“Twitter is truly a collaboration and that is not changing,” said Williams.

But Stone said Twitter would continue to fill in holes it sees in the main product by developing new features and acquiring companies.

“I anticipate a few more” acquisitions this year, Stone said. “I don’t know if we’re going too crazy. But there’s certain things that we need to get done and we want to get done fast, and there’s certain things we can take our time building.”

Maybe those in attendance started setting their eyes on being like that one-man show that was purchased by Twitter. Of course, with over 100,000 developers out there trying to cash-in maybe a lottery ticket would be just as effective to generate income.
Andy Beal's Marketing Pilgrim

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