Perspectives, News & Opinions From The Researchers At Edison

Twitter Users and Advertising Tolerance

Entry by Tom Webster | Wednesday, April 14th, 2010 | Permalink

At Twitter’s first official conference this week (“Chirp“), co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams released what GigaOm called “all the numbers that matter.” Certainly, the raw server statistics are impressive: 105 million registered users, 180 million unique visitors a month, and so on. Still, behind the tonnage of server stats lie the other numbers – the ones that truly matter, for a platform that is banking everything on engagement. How many humans really engage with the service on a regular basis? Why are they there? Who isn’t using Twitter – and why? How will Twitter’s new advertising platform affect its current user base?

All good questions. We’ve been tracking America’s answers to some of these questions for the past three years in our annual Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia research series, and I’m pleased to say that this year we have a phenomenal, stable data set of Twitter usage statistics that will indeed provide another take on “the numbers that matter” from a survey perspective to complement the server perspective.

One of the questions we asked in our tracking studies was how the possible addition of advertising on Twitter might affect users (and usage) of the platform – which turned out to be a prescient inclusion in our survey. This is still early days for Twitter, so the user base (and its tolerance for advertising) can and will shift over time. Today, however, Americans who are regular users of Twitter (at least monthly) are at least somewhat sensitive to advertising. When asked, “If Twitter were to incorporate targeted advertising into its service, how would that affect your Twitter usage?” one in five regular Twitter users reported that they would “use Twitter less,” while another 15% responded that they would stop using Twitter altogether. In all, one in three regular Twitter users reported some negative reaction to the addition of advertising on Twitter, as the graph below illustrates:

2010 Twitter Ad Sensitivity.043.png

On April 29th, at 2PM (EST), we are proud to announce the premiere of a brand new report entitled Twitter Users in America: 2010. This free report will reveal data that estimates how many Americans are actually active users of the platform, along with demographics, usage and behavior data. We’ll also provide some implications and insight on how to understand what all of these numbers really mean for Twitter and its legions of fans. I’ll be presenting this important Edison/Arbitron data and taking your questions in a live webinar, and I really hope you’ll be able to join us. I’ll certainly have more to say about this study in the coming days, and I’d love to connect with any of you who would like to talk about our findings and where these numbers go from here. I’ll be at the 140 Conference in New York next week if you’d like to meet face to face, or I’d love to connect with you on Twitter.

Either way, do sign up for the webcast of this premiere presentation of Twitter Users in America from Edison Research and Arbitron today – hope to see you there!

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