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New Study Shows Twitter Buzz is Mostly a Bust




Twitter needs a new mascot. Instead of cheery bird, they should use a happy bee, because a new study shows that Twitter has more buzz than Tweets.

Polaris Marketing Research Inc. surveyed 1,000 American consumers this past July and asked them about their Twitter usage.

Only 18% said they had sent a Tweet in the last sixty days, which is not surprising. We know that the majority of the Tweets come from a small number of users. What is surprising is that only 22% said they read a Tweet in the past 60 days.

Polaris President Jan Carlson says,

“In spite of all of the buzz about Twitter, our results show that individuals who are active on Twitter are in the minority of the general U.S. population.”

Ouch. That really stings.

Now if you’re more of a cup half-full kind of person, you could say that almost one quarter of the population read at least one Tweet in the past two months. That does make the stat sound better, doesn’t it? But no matter how you phrase it, if they’ve got this right, then a whole lot of marketers aren’t getting through on this social media channel.

Who is getting the message? Here’s what Polaris found out:

  • Younger respondents (under age 34) were significantly more likely to tweet and to review tweets on Twitter.
  • Hispanic respondents were significantly more likely to tweet or review tweets.
  • Respondents’ income levels were not related to their likelihood to use Twitter.
  • Respondents in the East were most likely to tweet while respondents in the South were most likely to review tweets on Twitter

Really not much to hang your campaign hat on, is it?

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I’m a huge fan of Twitter. It’s my number one source of news be it breaking stories or hot coupons. It’s also a constant source of entertainment, a quick bite here and there as I go through my day. I review a lot of Tweets, I Tweet more than most, RT occasionally and often click through to see photos and read articles. Apparently, I’m not a typical user and that’s a shame. I want to see Twitter succeed and I don’t own any stock in the company. But is 22% usage enough to sustain them? At what point does it become mainstream? 50% usage?

The question you need to ask yourself is, does it matter? I’d guess not. Even knowing that only 22% of Americans are seeing your Tweet, probably won’t stop you from doing it, because 22% is still better than 0% and as marketers, we’ll take what we can get.

Do these stats make you want to reconsider your Twitter marketing efforts? Or is it full-steam ahead?

  • Valerie Iravani

    I disagree with changing the mascot. Generally, most people dislike or resist change. Continuity is important. Bees can be perceived as fearsome, they hurt, and they can be annoying. Birds are generally perceived as positive, happy, and travel constantly. Birds are also more substantial than bees, and more appreciated in general. Keep the mascot!

  • min-su

    maybe twitter just needs a few more years before it becomes mainstream. I see sites like outsourced-tweets.com out there so there must be a market for tweets. only time will tell I guess.

    Min-su

  • http://justindupre.com/limitedtimedeal/ Justin Dupre

    Wow! Only 22% read a Tweet in the past 60 days. That’s something to consider when using Twitter in marketing.

  • http://www.audiographics.com Ken Dardis

    I’ve been doing an analysis of social media’s ROI for nearly a year. Twitter delivers at least a ten-fold “less” response than Facebook, which delivers considerably less than Linkedin.

    Knowing there’s a need to experiment with more than one way of communicating in an SM environment, I’ve started to adjust each platforms message format to take another look at whether they are worth the time invested.

    So far my observation is that most everyone on Twitter is talking, but nobody’s listening.

    • Cynthia Boris

      And that about sums it up, doesn’t it? Well said.

  • http://www.seo-theory.com/ Michael Martinez

    Given that the vast majority of Websites fail to match Twitter’s audience and user activity, I doubt they need to worry much about being a “bust”.

  • http://insaletoday.com InSaleToday

    In fact most of us alreay know that do the fact of automated posting in twiiter almost no body post messages by online writing (like we are doing now in comment blogs doing it manually!) so a few read it. It should be not allowed auto-posts.
    We need to consider new types of online marketing!