Evidence from Edison Research’s “Twitter Usage in America: 2010” survey suggests that marketers targeting multicultural audiences would do well to note the service’s diverse ethnic makeup.
Edison found that African-Americans make up nearly one-quarter of the US Twitter population, twice their share of the total population of the country. eMarketer estimates non-Hispanic African-Americans make up just 11% of US Internet users. Hispanics were also overrepresented on Twitter, at 17% versus 13.4% of the US Internet population.
In contrast, whites make up more than 69% of Internet users but about one-half of Twitter users.
The report said that high usage in the African-American community could be related to the mobile nature of Twitter. While many users update their status with a PC, mobile devices are a major conduit of microblog posts, and research shows that African-Americans and Hispanics are both more likely than whites to use the mobile Web, especially among younger users.
Edison also found that Twitter users were significantly more likely than members of other social networks to friend or follow brands.
Overall, the “Twitter Usage in America” survey found there were 17 million users of the microblogging service in February 2010. eMarketer forecasts Twitter usage based on December of each year, making this figure most comparable to eMarketer’s estimate of 18 million users in December 2009.
eMarketer projects 26 million US Internet users will be on the site by the end of 2010.
Edison’s figure is based on Twitter penetration of 7% of the total population. Awareness of the service is much higher, however, at 87%. That means Twitter has gained the mindshare of Facebook in just a short time—as usage and media coverage skyrocketed in 2009—but that awareness has generally not translated to uptake.