Twitter Usage in America, Dive into the Data

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Edison Research is launching their “Twitter Usage in America 2010” report today with a live webinar. The report is part of their full Internet & Multimedia Study and includes some quality data. Here are some of the highlights:

  • “The percentage of Americans who are familiar with Twitter has surged from 5% in 2008 to 87% in 2010.” We can all blame CNN’s Rick Sanchez for this.
  • There are really only 17 million Americans using Twitter. The inflated number of accounts represents SPAM accounts and users with multiple accounts.
  • “The percentage of Twitter users who are African-Americans in the current U.S. population… stands at roughly 25%.”
  • “The majority of Twitter users are “lurkers,” passively following and reading the updates of others without contributing updates of their own.”
  • “The percentage of Twitter users who follow brands is more than three times higher than similar behavior expressed by social networking users in general.”
  • “A significantly higher proportion of Twitter users update their social networking profiles – and access Twitter – using mobile phones than the average user of other social networking sites and services.”
  • “Only 7% of Americans are aware of location based social networks”
  • “Twitter users are more likely to have improved their financial situation in the past year compared to the total population (32% to 18%)”

Twitter Users are Unique

There are still, relatively, very few of us living and breathing Twitter on a regular basis (and sharing our breakfast choices).  The users driving the content on Twitter are not reflective of social networking users as a whole. They are very much early adopters and more comfortable interacting with brands. This is great for marketers looking to engage influencers.

“The fact that Twitter users are far more likely to follow brands and engage in brand conversations makes them responsive to marketing, but also considerably different to mainstream Americans,” said Tom Webster, VP Strategy adn Marketing at Edison Research.

Marketers can clearly find in Twitter a healthy community of influencers ready to engage. But as Tom points out, Twitter users are a bit of a different breed. Marketing strategies that work well on Twitter may not hold true within other communities. Many marketers would no doubt agree with this assessment, but it is very interesting to dive into some of the data behind it.

Twitter Has A Strong Black Community

Why are so many African Americans on Twitter (There are Black People on Twitter)? Who knows. Why do so many white people love Frisbee Sports? It does not really matter why, but it’s important as marketers to understand the demographics of the channels we are marketing in. Depending on the brand in question, this may or may not be important to your marketing. Nevertheless, this demonstrated even more that Twitter is an outlier.

And now for a couple surprising numbers…

Twitter Users Make More Money?

If you were on Twitter in the past year, you had a significantly higher chance of improving your financial situation. The question is why? Is it because Twitter users are more likely to be business owners? Entrepreneurs?

“WTF is Twitter?” is so 2009

Oprah, Ashton, The Real Shaq oh my. Thanks to some celebrity and media love affairs with the blue bird in question, Twitter has shockingly infiltrated 87% of American brains. To jump from 5% to 87% in 2 years is quite the leap. So while 17 million Americans are the only ones truly using the service, hundreds of millions know we are here. Twitter can continue to have a large influence (as large as Facebook) on what society talks about with a much smaller core user group.

Thanks to Edison for the great data. Check out the the webinar or download the full report.