Edison Research/Arbitron Internet & Multimedia Study, Twitter has now reached the same ubiquitous brand awareness in the U.S. as Facebook. In 2008, only 5% of the U.S. population was aware of Twitter. Today, this number is 87%. Only 7% of Americans actually use Twitter, however, while 41% have a profile on Facebook.According to this year's
Facebook was known to 50% of Americans in 2008 and today, this number is 87%. The rapid growth in awareness about Twitter, however, hasn't translated in comparable usage figures. Chances are that this high level of awareness is driven by Twitter's constant presence on mainstream television and in print media outlets.
Given that only about 85% of Americans have access to the Internet, this means that more people know about Twitter and Facebook than there are people who can actually use it.
Of course, using Twitter takes far more effort than just creating a profile on Facebook, so it doesn't come as a surprise that most Internet users would be more likely to keep a social networking profile on Facebook than on Twitter.
This low usage number, however, also highlights Twitter's enduing problems with turning visitors of the site into regular users. Of course, this also means that Twitter still has a lot of room to grow if it manages to find a way to convert more of its visitors into regular users.
How Can Twitter Convert More Visitors into Regular Users? Emphasize SMS and Private Pages
The Edison Research/Arbitron Internet & Multimedia Study also examined the demographics of American Twitter users.
Here are some highlights:
- Twitter users are more likely to live in higher income households
- Twitter users are well-educated. 63% have a college degree.
- Twitter is disproportionately popular with African-Americans (25%).
- 79% of Twitter users would rather give up their TVs than their Internet connections.
As the authors of the Edison report point out, one way to increase Twitter usage could be to highlight the parallels between status updates and SMS messages. About 70% of Americans now regularly send and receive SMS messages and according to a recent report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, half of all teens now send 50 or more text messages per day. Twitter just bought the SMS technology provider Cloudhopper, so Twitter is clearly aware of this opportunity. This move towards emphasizing SMS makes sense for Twitter, which, after all, was born as a group SMS service.
The authors also note that posting status updates on other social networks has now become a mainstream activity on Facebook and other social networks. While people still consider Facebook to be a private network where they communicate with their close friends, however, most users see Twitter as a broadcast medium. As the authors of the report note, Twitter currently doesn't highlight the fact that it also offers its users the ability to create closed networks and private profiles.