Fewer than one-quarter (22%) of US adults use Twitter, making it one of the least used of the top social media platforms in the US. Of those who are on Twitter, a mere 10% account for the vast majority of the tweets, per a recent report from Pew Research Center.
But among these users, how is activity balanced? In a survey of more than 2,700 US adult Twitter users who agreed to provide their Twitter handles (and whose data was collected via Twitter API), Pew Research found that a small number (10%) of individuals were responsible for 80% of all the tweets. The other 90% of tweeters contributed far fewer (20%) tweets on the platform.
The difference in monthly engagement of these heavy and light tweeters is striking. The median user in the small group of prolific tweeters created 138 tweets per month, favorited 70 posts, had 387 followers and followed 456 accounts. For those bottom 90% of tweeters, the median user tweeted twice a month, favorited 1 post, had 19 followers and followed 74 accounts.
Some 81% of the top 10% of US Twitter users used Twitter at least once a day, but the gap here is not as pronounced as in the other areas studied. Almost half (47%) of the other 90% also used Twitter once a day or more. This indicates that while the majority of users do not engage directly on the platform often, many of them are still active on the platform and consuming the content that is posted. While likes, retweets, clicks and comments are indicators of engagement, these may not be the only factors indicative of reach.
Indeed, it may be factors beyond pure engagement that make Twitter worth considering. At least among Gen Z and Millennials, consumers discover products frequently on social media, although Twitter ranks below other social platforms in this respect. Social channels also provide a way in which brands can appear as more transparent, and marketers find that social media is a channel which is both effective and easy to use.
More broadly, engagement by brands on social media has a number of benefits in terms of consumer perception. For example, 7 in 10 consumers say that having a CEO who is active on social media makes them feel more connected to a brand. So there may be an impact on those users with lower perceived activity levels, even if they do not engage openly.
Who Are US Twitter Users?
For the respondents to this research call, the median age of US adult Twitter users is 40 years old, with 44% of US users being between the ages of 30-49 years. It’s worth bearing in mind that this might not be representative, as only those who agreed to provide their handles were included in the study. Separate data, again from the Pew Research Center, revealed that Twitter’s reach is highest among US adults ages 18-24 (44%).
While this survey showed an even split between male and female users, women (65%) made up the majority of the top 10% of tweeters.
This latest data also indicates that Twitter users are more highly educated than the US general public with 42% of users being college graduates or higher. This is compared to 31% of the general public. Additionally, Twitter users also tend to be in a higher income bracket .with 41% of respondents having a household income of $75,000 or more.
To read more, download the full report here.
About the Data: Pew Research Center conducted a nationally representative survey of 2,791 U.S. adult (18 years and older) Twitter users who were willing to share their Twitter handles. The survey was from Nov. 21 to Dec. 17, 2018, and has a margin of error for the full sample of plus or minus 3.0 percentage points.