Talking tech since 2003

The last few months have brought about an enormous growth in Twitter’s traffic in fact sky rocketing them to approximately 19 million visitors in the month of March. The enormous growth was propelled by Ashton Kutcher’s race to one million followers lead closely by the adoption of the service by Oprah. If this growth trend continues Twitter may reach close to 50 million visitors a month by the end of the summer. However, with all of this traffic and mainstream media attention, how many new users are actually sticking around and using the service everyday? The answer may (or may not) surprise you – not many at all (at least according to a recent study).

In fact, Nielsen Online found that more than 60 percent of Twitter users stopped using the free social networking site a month after joining. This of course means the only Twitter only has a 40% retention rate. While this is up from past where it was only approximately 30% – it’s still very low. What does this mean? Well, if you ask me, it appears Twitter has a real problem. A lot of people including Michael Arrington of TechCrunch are talking about Twitter becoming a search engine for real-time information and news among other things.  I will admit I thought this was a solid idea (and still do a certain degree), however, the more I look at the current retention rate it just doesn’t seem likely.

When you look at Google’s traffic information (according to Quantcast) only 22% of their traffic is considered passer-by traffic, whereas, Twitter’s passer-by traffic is at 72% (also according to Quantcast).  Here are some other details about Google’s traffic, 10% of their traffic are considered addicts and 68% are considered regulars, whereas, Twitter’s addicts traffic is at 1% and their regulars are at 27%.

As you can see there is quite a difference in the types of users.  If you are going to call Twitter a search engine (especially for real-time information and news) more people have to use it as such and currently people are not doing that.  Based on this information it appears even with all of the hype Twitter is receiving it’s not breaking the mainstream fold – people just don’t get the service as it is and trust me, if they don’t get it that way, they are definitely not going to get using it as a search engine.

I’m a die hard Twitter user (@besttechie) and I’ve attempted to promote it on my college campus – I get a lot of stares and “I’ll just use Facebook”.  The more I look at the big picture here, Twitter just doesn’t seem to be cutting into the mainstream even with all the publicity.  Here is your chance Twitter prove me wrong – increase your retention rate.

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