Twitter quadruples its daily users, debuts TV ads

The micro-blogging site is looking to make its service more mainstream, inseparable from TV viewing

Technology trends and news by Krystal Peak
June 11, 2012
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If your Twitter feed is as nearly as robust as mine then hearing that the number of US daily tweeters has quadrupled since 2010 is no big surprise but it does mean that roughly 8% of the adult population in the country is posting thoughts in 140 characters or less, according to a study released today.

Twitter has also attracted a twice as many people this year as in May 2011 to post daily, which is a more dramatic adoption than the use of smartphones.

The study, carried out by Princeton Survey Research Associates International for the Pew Internet and American Life Project, found that young adults prefer Twitter more so than older adults, with more than a quarter of people ages 18-29 using Twitter compared to 14% of users ages 30-49.

In March 2012, active Twitter users numbered 140 million, up from 100 million in September 2011 and all of these users collectively tweet 1 billion posts about every three days. The numbers are getting so big it is hard to process. I remember a day when I could watch live twitter feeds covering a debate or award show, but now the volume is so immense that your Web browser can't load fast enough, and you couldn't physically read the number of tweets coming in during the Emmy's, Tony's or Oscars. 

Twitter user growth is also increasing in the UK. In May, the number of Twitter users in Britain reached 10 million, with 8 million users accessing the site in just the last 30 days.

Twitter strives for even more mainstream appeal

While the Twitter growth is exceptional, holding onto 8% of US adults is still not quite mainstream. In an effort to insert Twitter even more into the common Internet culture, the San Francisco micro-blogging company aired its first TV ad campaign over the weekend.

Twitter debuted seven 15-second ads during Sunday’s Nascar motor racing event, the Pocono 400. The ads, which featured Nascar drivers posting tweets from their smartphones behind the wheel, promoted a Twitter page collecting posts about the race. 

The new Nascar page can be viewed by people even if they are not registered users of Twitter and marks the California-based internet company’s first big attempt at a curated, editorially driven approach.

For years it has been rare for these Internet tech companies to turn to TV for advertising opportunities -- especially since they have access to very targeted information on the Web.

At the end of last year YouTube and Google+ started TV airing spots to promote their services and Square also recently started promoting its services via TV ads.

Twitter has been building ties with broadcasters to bring traffic to its site and build buzz online that can in turn boost TV audiences. Twitter has become the real-time outlet for people watching shared events such as sports broadcasts, award shows, debates and other events and now it is supporting the TV system with paid ads. 

As more companies strive to create a second screen experience, Twitter has broken in the closest. A lot of celebrities and everyday viewers watch their TV events with smartphone in hand so that they can tweet real-time reactions and read how others are responding to televised events.

It will be interesting to see if this new marketing strategy spikes up traffic to Twitter and increases the usership base noticeably. I don't have any hard numbers on it but I imagine Twitter isn't strongest in its Nascar usership base and it can only help when fans see their sport icons tweeting.

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Description: What is Twitter? Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweet...

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