In April, the Edison Research and Arbitron released “Twitter Usage In America: 2010,” presenting three years of tracking data from more than 1,700 Americans. The research uncovered some interesting findings about social networks, and about Twitter in particular.
Twitter awareness rivals Facebook. Awareness of Twitter has exploded from 5% of Americans 12+ in 2008 to 87% in 2010 (by comparison, Facebook’s awareness is 88%). And social network usage continues to grow among all age groups.
Twitter is used by approximately 17 million Americans – about 7% of the population. However, roughly six times more Americans maintain a profile page on Facebook than use Twitter. And almost 50% of Americans over the age of 12 maintain a profile on at least one social networking site, with the vast majority using Facebook.
Most Twitter users are “lurkers,” reading the updates of others without contributing their own updates – at least, not on Twitter. But 70% of regular Twitter users say they do post status updates to some social networking service (likely Facebook). Twitter appears to function as more of a broadcast medium compared to social network sites such as Facebook, still making it a key marketing tool for brands.
More than half of all Twitter users are between 25 and 44, signaling that most users are in prime decision-making demographics.
Business use cases for Twitter far exceed similar usage for social networking sites in general. The percentage of Twitter users who follow brands is over three times higher than similar behavior expressed by social networking users in general. As this graphic shows, Twitter users are more likely to follow brands or companies on social networks.
According to the study, “Significant percentages of regular Twitter users report using the service not only to seek opinions about companies, products and services, but to provide those opinions as well.”
In short, here’s more proof that social networks – and Twitter and Facebook in particular – are here to stay, and users are amenable to hearing from brands via these networks.