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A List of Useful Statistics on Twitter Marketing and Users

Posted by on September 10th, 2016

Twitter is an amazing platform, but I feel as though many people fail to realize just how amazing it truly is. We get caught up in our own individual accounts, monitoring our local metrics, commenting and retweeting in our own little circles. We forget that Twitter is a global company with over 300 million monthly active users. It’s a hub for political discourse, for social issues, for business and commerce. It’s also a way people can keep up with their friends and family, read jokes, find updates from their favorite content creators, and engage with TV fans in real time. It strays into the surreal and it has been automated for a thousand different purposes. There’s so much more to it than the narrow window businesses get.

This post isn’t going to have takeaways or actionable intelligence. It’s not a tutorial and it’s not a guide. It’s simply a monolith, a monument to what Twitter is. You can use them in statistical analyses, or you can cite them later if you wish; that’s up to you. Personally, I recommend taking a minute to simply marvel. The internet started out around 50 years ago, and in that half a century we have gone from rudimentary packet switching that could be outrun by a determined sloth, to the global communication networks that fill the air around us. It’s really quite awesome how much of human history has gone into making something like Twitter work – and how much of human history is going to be shaped by it in this and future decades.

Statistics from Twitter Itself

Twitter publishes a good list of statistics about their website here. I’m sure they will be different if you’re reading this six or twelve months from now, but for now what I’m writing is accurate.

Stats on Twitters WebsiteTwitter has 313,000,000 monthly active users. Between all sites that have embedded tweets – and not counting Twitter itself – they pull in over a billion views every month. There are a lot of people exposed to Twitter, you see.

Twitter was founded as a mobile-first platform and only expanded into desktop a little while after their creation. As such, they have perhaps the highest mobile adoption of any social network online today. A full 82% of Twitter’s active users access the site from mobile. I don’t have the statistics to back up my hunch, but I would venture a guess that a large portion of those remaining are businesses that use desktop programs to manage multiple Twitter accounts at once.

Twitter has a global presence. Those of us running businesses in the USA tend to get a rather USA-centric perspective, but 79% of the accounts on Twitter originate outside the USA. The site supports over 40 languages, a list of which you can find here. On that same page, you can find a link to the form where you can request your language be added as supported, and a link to the general Twitter Translator account, which posts updates about language adoption progress. If you’re fluent in more than one language, you can even help take part in the translation.

In fact, Twitter translation has a whole game associated with it. They have translator badges you earn when you complete the translation center registration. As you translate content, you earn karma points. As you gain more points, you gain better badges. You keep them as long as you keep an active translation account. In this way, Twitter is constantly growing their translator base, refining their translations into languages from around the world, and keeping everything up to date.

Twitter as a company is headquartered in San Francisco California, and has offices in Atlanta, Boston, Boulder, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Seattle, Sunnyvale, and Washington D.C.. In addition, they have over 35 offices around the world, with a grand total of 3,860 employees.

More Statistics and a History Lesson

The company was founded in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Biz Stone, and Noah Glass. It was, back then, called Twttr, in acknowledgement of the need for character limiting on mobile phones back then.

Twttr First Website

Smartphones and lengthy texts weren’t commonplace; the 140 character limit comes from the length of one single text sent over cell service.

  • Jack Dorsey has continued on as the CEO of Twitter, and has also founded Square, one of the most popular forms of mobile payments available for small businesses today. Square is exceptionally easy to use, with a simple app and a plug-in adapter for smartphones.
  • Noah Glass hasn’t had quite the same amount of success, with a podcasting company Odeo that closed in 2007. His website hasn’t been updated since 2009, and his Twitter was last active in 2013. He is known as the “forgotten co-founder” and his story is somewhat heartbreaking.
  • Biz Stone has gone on to do many things, including launching many web household names, such as Xanga, Medium, Lyft, Square, and Jelly. He’s an angel investor, so he has fingers in many pies.
  • Evan Williams founded Blogger, helped with Odeo and Twitter, contributed with Medium, and has continued as a broad-spectrum entrepreneur online.

The concept of Hashtags was created by Chris Messina in 2007. His original tweet still exists and has been linked often, including right here. Around the same time, Twitter was really beginning to take off, in the 2007 SXSW conference. Many people attending the conference took to what we now call livetweeting the experience, sharing information in a way no other format could share. Micro-tweets broke news before blogs could write posts and edit them, and long before news agencies could write and publish.

Twitter’s Initial Public Offering happened in 2013. Shares opened at $26 each and closed at just under $45, which placed Twitter’s value as a company around 31 billion dollars. Since then, they have had a bit of a rocky time, as Twitter stumbled trying to find their groove again, making changes to the platform and, in some cases, reverting them.

Twitter has had a number of outages over the years, some more serious than others. For example:

  • The unique numerical integer identifying a tweet exceeded the number available for 32-bit integers – a bit over 2.1 billion – and Twitter third party apps were unable to access recent tweets. This happened in 2009.
  • Also in 2009, Twitter servers struggled under the load of Michael Jackson tweets when he died, with the site receiving 50,000 of them per hour.
  • A DDoS attack took the site down for several hours in August of 2009.
  • A cascading bug in 2012 took the site down for an appropriate amount of time: 1:40, or an hour and forty minutes.

The most followed account on Twitter is Katy Perry, who has now broken 90 million followers. She is followed by Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, Barack Obama, Rihanna, and the official YouTube account. Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres, the official Twitter accound, and Justin Timberlake round out the top 10.

Katy Perry Twitter

MarQuis Trill, @6BillionPeople, is the account that follows the most other accounts, at 4.6 million. @VENETHIS has the highest number of tweets (without being banned for spam) and is unique. Most users with high tweet counts are content aggregation bots, but VENETHIS is a real person in Japan, a gamer and anime fan who is constantly searching for players for online games to play with him. He’s in the lead for most tweets by a shocking margin. He has 37 million tweets, where the second place has only 7 million. Interestingly, the vast majority of his tweets were posted in a mere 40 days back in 2012, and is probably why there are rate limits on Twitter now.

Twitter’s Business Presence

Twitter is a huge, billion-dollar company, and as such has made a lot of purchases and mergers over the years.

Twitter Acquisitions

The company has acquired or merged with 53 other companies, including:

  • Summize, a social search engine that became the core of their current search mechanics.
  • Mixer Labs, a company specializing in location information.
  • Atebits, makers of Tweetie, the only available iOS Twitter app at the time. It has since been rebranded into the official Twitter app.
  • TweetDeck, one of the original and one of the best Twitter management tools for businesses and multi-account holders.
  • BackType, makers of a social analytics suite that powers Twitter Analytics.
  • Posterous, a longer-format blogging platform.
  • Vine, the short-form video sharing service that has become a signature of Twitter’s micro-blogging in a modern video format.
  • Periscope, a livestreaming solution and competitor to Facebook’s livestreaming.

You can expect their string of acquisitions to continue, as they pick up services that streamline their existing platform or add new, relevant features. Ideally, they won’t make mistakes in picking up expensive businesses that they can’t properly leverage.

Additional Statistics

Interestingly, as many as 44% of all accounts created on Twitter have never sent a tweet. There are a handful of reasons for this. Some of them follow friends or brands and don’t post, they just consume. Others are created to enter contests that require a follow, but don’t need to send a message to qualify. Some are spam accounts made to follow others on the command of the owner. Some are even real users who registered to save a name and have never come back to the site.

Twitter verification is highly sought-after by brands, but it’s actually primarily used by journalists. The highest percentage faction industry of verified users is journalists, at 24.6% of all verified users. Sports entities and athletes make up another 18%, with actors and entertainers another 13.6%. Companies, brands, and entrepreneurs are only 12.7% of Twitter verified users, and musicians are 12%.

Over 500 million tweets are sent every day. That works out to be around 6,000 per second, though there are obviously highs and lows to activity levels.

The single most retweeted tweet on the entire site is Ellen’s, from the Oscars in 2014, where she took a selfie with a bunch of celebrities. It has 3.3 million retweets and 2.2 million likes.

Though those Oscars were active, the 2014 world cup final spiked to 618,000 tweets in a single minute, making it the single most active event thus far in history on Twitter.

The one billionth tweet was sent three years, two months, and one day after the founding of Twitter.

One Billionth Tweet

Twitter is no stranger to business. Nearly 66% of all companies in the USA with over 100 employees have a Twitter account. Many smaller businesses do as well. Engagement from these brands is important, as 77% of Twitter users feel more positive about a brand when that brand replies to a message they send.

Of companies on Twitter, 92% of them maintain activity by sending more than one tweet per day. 80% of Twitter users have @mentioned a brand in their tweets at some point, with widely varying reasons from praise to scorn to customer service requests. Speaking of customer service, Twitter has been growing as a CS platform, with a 2.5x increase in customer service interactions over the last two years.

Users expect brands to reply within an hour, but the average response time is actually almost an hour and a half.

Despite all of this, a whopping 90% of internet users don’t actually use Twitter. This is simply a show of how many people there are on the Internet. The global population is over 7 billion now and on the rise at a pretty constant rate. It’s estimated that 3.4 billion – nearly half of the population of the world – is using the internet. Even with 300 million people using Twitter, there are still a lot of people who don’t use it. Of course, a lot of those people have at least heard of it.

It’s no wonder that so many people are drawn to the site, and to other social networks for that matter. There’s so much going on in the world, and Twitter is a wonderful place to keep up with it and participate in conversations on a global stage. No matter who you are on Twitter, your voice can be heard.

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