Does Twitter’s Growth Matter?

Twitter is definitely on my list of favorites in 2008. I love using it, love the integrated tools, and love the form of communication that it offers. It’s non-intrusive, permission-based, and quick. Mashable has a great post on Twitter’s growth, 752%. The growth on the site doesn’t include growth via their API, so I think it’s actually much larger.

But does it matter?

Companies that are savvy with social media should definitely put Twitter on their list of mediums to leverage. However, Twitter is still a small fish in an ocean of opportunity for marketers. Three characteristics of any medium that need to be viewed closely are:

  1. Reach – What is the total volume of consumers that can reached through the medium?
  2. Placement – Is the messaging directly read by the consumer or is it indirectly available for the consumer to click on?
  3. Intent – Was the intent of the consumer to look for your product or service, or was solicitation even expected at all?

Folks on the Internet love to talk about what’s new and they expect everyone to run to the latest and greatest. For businesses, though, some analysis needs to be made before they bet the farm on another medium. Here’s a couple charts of visits and pageviews of Google, Facebook and Twitter. Google, of course, is a search engine. Facebook is a social network and twitter is a micro-blogging platform.

Reach:

Visits
Twitter still pales in comparison to the visits that Google and Facebook are getting – that’s important to keep in perspective.

Engagement:

Pageviews
While folks love to talk about Facebook, and Facebook loves to talk about its growth, Facebook’s growth in membership isn’t matched by those users’ engagement. In fact, statistics show that Facebook has to continue to grow its member base simply to maintain pageviews. They’ve got a terribly leaky funnel… and no one is talking about it.

Let’s look at the three mediums again:

  1. Google: Has reach, placement, and intent
  2. Facebook: Has reach – but it’s not retaining well
  3. Twitter: Has placement, reach is growing but still a small player in the market

Search Engine Strategies in 2009

In other words, Search Engines – especially Google, are the only things that still matter if you want to reach the right audience (are relevant searches finding your business?), offers both direct and indirect placement (direct = organic results, indirect = pay per click results), and has intent (the user was looking for you).

For 2009, your focus to capture market share must include search engines. As their Vice President of Blogging Evangelism, I would be remiss if I didn’t point you to the perfect solution for capturing leads via organic search.

3 Comments

  1. 1

    You mentioned:
    If your target audience is Social media advocates in every major city worldwide, twitter is the way to go, IMHO. Anything that can be sold via Internet Protocol (including thoughts, ideas, music, history, art etc.) will have a potential audience size of One Billion people, world-wide, at the speed of light.

    I have followers from every continent except Antarctica. Don’t you think that is twitter’s biggest selling point? That coupled with the fact that it’s FREE.

    Amy

    • 2

      I’ll be the last one to discourage anyone from using Twitter. 🙂 If your analytics provides insight that Twitter is where the engagement and the conversions come from – then go for it! I just think most people will find that it pales in comparison to what search engines can do for them.

      Search engines provide you direct contact with folks looking for what you do or have. Twitter isn’t quite as direct… it takes folks a little work to find you and connect with you.

      Thanks of commenting Amy! Looking forward to seeing you at the next Tweetup.

  2. 3

    I personally love what twitter is all about and yet I can’t stomach using it, I don’t think I’m alone in that. I have absolutely no urge to tell a large group of people I’m off to the movies or about to buy a coffee any more than I want to hear about aunt Betsy’s dog tricks.

    I’m busy, I read most excellent blogs like this one instead of reading snippets and I like it that way!

    I just wanted to add that both Google and Facebook are kicking themselves for not being the founders of Twitter-mania. Not only that but traffic volume isn’t nearly as important as traffic involvement. When I’m not working on simple projects I’m building affiliate related sites for clients and I would much prefer a small amount of highly active and converting traffic versus mass pass-through traffic.

    I have a sneaky feeling both Google and Facebook execs feel like they missed a golden goose in the Twitter idea.

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