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Facebook Reaches Majority of US Web Users

Less than 20 million US adults used Twitter at least monthly in 2010

NEW YORK, NY (Feb 24, 2011)— As Facebook continues to solidify its role as the world’s top social networking site, eMarketer estimates that more than half of internet users in the US were logging on to the site at least monthly as of the end of 2010.

This year, 132.5 million US web users will use the site monthly, eMarketer forecasts. That increase of 13.4% in the number of users means Facebook will reach almost nine in 10 social network users and 57.1% of internet users. By 2013, 62% of web users and almost half (47.6%) of the overall US population will be on Facebook.

eMarketer’s estimates are based on a meta-analysis of survey data and visitor statistics from over a dozen sources, and include US users who use any internet-enabled device to access their Facebook account at least once a month.

Facebook’s broad reach means that its once-dramatic growth rates are over; eMarketer forecasts single-digit growth in users after this year. On Twitter, growth rates will be higher, but relatively few online Americans use the microblogging service.

By the end of 2010, 16.4 million US adults, or 9% of the adult internet population, used Twitter. Growth will surpass 26% this year as Twitter reaches 11% of internet users and 16.5% of US adult social network users. By 2013, nearly 28 million Americans will be tweeting.

eMarketer’s estimate of Twitter usage includes individuals ages 18 and older who access their Twitter account at least monthly via any device, including access to third-party apps as well as to Twitter.com. Younger users are excluded due to a lack of third-party data on Twitter use by those under 18. This forecast represents a downward revision of eMarketer’s prediction made in April 2010, based on data from several surveys.

“eMarketer’s estimate of the US Facebook and Twitter populations presents a realistic assessment of actual usage, in contrast with widely publicized data that track numbers of user accounts, site traffic or other metrics that don’t fully reflect usage,” said eMarketer senior analyst Paul Verna, author of upcoming reports on Facebook and Twitter users.

“eMarketer’s new Twitter usage estimates are lower than our April 2010 forecast,” continued Verna. “Since then, Twitter has continued to gain traction but at more moderate levels than we had expected. Our updated figures put Twitter usage in a clearer perspective than published data showing hundreds of millions of Twitter accounts, or site traffic stats that include visitors who browse public tweets on Twitter.com but don’t actually use the microblogging service.”

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Posted on February 24, 2011.