It was just yesterday that research firm eMarketer reported that microblog company Twitter will have $150 million in advertising revenue this year and as much as $250 million next year.
Twitter has 175 million users which would seem to be a large enough audience for the company to be extremely successful
But, Twitter has a problem. The number of US adults who made a monthly visit to Twitter in November was down 14% from the same month in 2009. Experian Simmons DataStream reports that “As of November 29, 2010, 8.25 million adults had made at least one visit to Twitter.com during the previous 30 days, down from 9.54 million adults who had visited the site in the 30 days prior to November 30, 2009.” The figure is low for a service with 175 million users
The Experian data on Twitter is confusing. The research house says that although US adults paying a monthly visit dropped:
Simmons DataStream shows that the average number of visits per month rose a relative 37% in the last year. Twitter.com visits in late November 2010, in fact, reached an average of 10.0 visits per month, up from just 7.3 visits per month the year prior. As visit frequency increased, however, the duration of the average Twitter.com session declined, suggesting visitors today are seeking more frequent quick hits, rather than spending longer periods of time reading through posts. According to Experian Hitwise, the average amount of time Twitter.com visitors spend on the site during a typical session fell to 13 minutes, 12 seconds on November 27, 2010, down from an average of 15 minutes, 12 seconds spent on the site each session on November 28, 2009.
The average total amount of time people spent on Twitter rose to 2 hours and 12 minutes in November 2010 from 1 hour and 51 minutes in the same month last year.
The most important statistic among these is that fewer people visit Twitter now than they did a year ago. The fact that those who do visit do so more often may be useful to advertisers who want repeat exposure. But, the draw of Twitter to any marketer is that its overall growth is fantastic the way that it is for Facebook or Groupon. Twitter has started to move rapidly in the wrong direction if monthly visits and visit duration are down.
The data shows that Twitter may well be no more than a fad. Its “subscriber” count may continue to rise, but that is not terribly important when the subscribers don’t use the service.
Douglas A. McIntyre