Though recent studies show that Twitter has been growing exponentially, more than 60% of US Twitter users fail to return the following month, reports the Business Insider (via MarketingVOX). Twitter’s growth has come, in part, as a result of celebrity exposure, which fueled a record number of people to sign up in March. However, Business Insider said it faces an uphill battle keeping new users interested. Yesterday Oprah – who vouched for Twitter on her show two weeks ago – made headlines when Silicon Alley Insider observed four days have passed since her last tweet. Shortly after users speculated whether the high-profile talk-show host was already “over” Twitter; she began updating in earnest again yesterday.
However, a Nielsen report estimates that over 60% of Twitter users quit after their first month. Twitter’s 40% retention rate is higher than it was a month ago. (Pre-Oprah retention averaged below 30%.) But social networking giants MySpace and Facebook manage a much higher retention percentage (60%) of new users each month.
A high retention rate doesn’t necessarily guarantee a massive audience, but it is a prerequisite, Nielsen said, because there aren’t enough new users to make up for defecting ones after a certain point.
Twitter enjoyed tremendous popularity over the last few months, but it may not be able to sustain its meteoric rise without establishing a higher level of user loyalty, said Business Insider, noting that the Nielsen study could be inaccurate as to total users, however, since it only takes into account visits to the Twitter.com URL. A great deal of Twitter use takes place on mobile phones and on desktop applications like Tweetdeck or twhirl, so it is possible to keep using Twitter without visiting Twitter.com after signing up.
A February analysis found that the majority of Twitter users worldwide are 35 or older. Young adults (18-24) make up only 10.6% of the Twitter population in the US and are less likely than the average Twitter user to “tweet,” or participate via a microblog post. Earlier this month, it was rumored that Google was in late-stage talks to purchase Twitter.