If you were to look at growth rate for number of users you would think that the Facebook freight train was slowing down a bit. According to eMarketer the rate of growth for the leading social network is falling into the single digits while Twitter’s growth stays in double digit territory.
Here are the growth numbers and projections for the next few years.
These numbers, however, are not anything that should signal trouble for Facebook. Maybe they have actually reached a very unique position in the US where they have simply gotten most people who are going to use social networking to sign up already. The available market left for them is simply much smaller so growth percentages would naturally have to shrink. Now, Facebook is concentrating on getting revenue out of the huge number of users it already has as evidenced by the many ad types added in recent days.
The growth for Twitter in the double digits really comes from the fact that there are just more available non-users than Facebook has. I know, for instance, that my teenage daughter has just discovered Twitter. I don’t say that very excitedly though considering some of the junk she is seeing in her feed. She is the type that Twitter is depending on for the growth because as this next chart shows there are plenty of social media users who have yet to come on board with Twitter if you use Facebook use as a measure of social media “willingness”.
These numbers show two of the most popular social media outlets at two very different points in their life cycles. Facebook is maturing with regard to customer acquisition (in the US at least). You have to admit, they have done an incredible job to this point whether you like them or not. Now they are faced with the task of wringing out as many dollars as they can with the current US audience they have. These numbers, remember, do not show international growth which is supposedly much bigger than in the US.
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Twitter’s task in the US is two-fold. Continue to get more users on board but also find a way to truly monetize those users. It appears as if that task is a bit more daunting than Facebook’s might be.
What do you think?