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Twitter Stays Strong as Growth Slows

Traffic plateaus while usage and stickiness stay up

Twitter usage exploded in 2009. US site traffic, which is only a partial barometer of how many people used the service, grew from a few million unique monthly visitors in early 2009 to over 20 million by June. Traffic has since reached a plateau, but other usage metrics continue to show high levels of engagement in early 2010.

“The service is now firmly entrenched in the social media world,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Twitter: A Strong Current in the Social Media Mainstream.” “We expect usage levels to continue rising, albeit more moderately, through 2012.”

eMarketer estimates there will be 26 million US adult Twitter users in 2010, up 44.4% over last year. By 2012 nearly one-fifth of Web users, or 36 million people, will be on Twitter.

These figures include adult users who access Twitter at least monthly via any platform—the Web, mobile devices or third-party apps and widgets.

At its first developers’ conference in April 2010, Twitter reported it had nearly 106 million registered accounts worldwide, with just under 40% coming from inside the US. Those figures translated to 39.1 million US accounts. Twitter’s inclusion of users of all ages and registered users who no longer participate, along with those who have more than one account, means that the total number of US accounts should be higher than the number of adult users, making eMarketer’s estimate of 26 million users in 2010 consistent with company figures.

Unique visits to Twitter.com have generally plateaued after a dramatic climb in early 2009, according to Compete, comScore and Nielsen.

While slowing growth in traffic led some to believe the service was being abandoned, research shows Twitter is sticky and longtime users are the most vocal participants.

“Twitter usage is still in flux,” said Mr. Verna. “There are many unanswered questions about Twitter’s long-term viability as a business, but writing off the company based on relatively small drops in unique visitors is shortsighted.”

Check out today’s other article, “Search Spend Trends Up in Q1 2010.”

The full report, “Twitter: A Strong Current in the Social Media Mainstream,” also answers these key questions:

  • How many people in the US are using Twitter?
  • How are usage patterns changing?
  • What platforms do people use to access Twitter?
  • How are companies marketing on Twitter?
  • What are Twitter’s revenue prospects?

To purchase the report, click here. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.

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