Hubspot Has Some Solid Twitter Stats

I wanted to post this information I got from Mike Volpe from Hubspot because I think it’s really useful. (disclosure: Hubspot sponsors the Inbound Marketing Summit.)

HubSpot released the world’s largest Twitter study based on data from 4.5 million accounts over the past 9 months. In the last report we saw that 80% of accounts had completed their bio, but it seems like a much large portion of Twitter accounts are inactive or abandoned this time. For instance, out of the accounts Hubspot analyzed:

  • 79.79% failed to provide a homepage URL
  • 75.86% of users have not entered a bio in their profile
  • 68.68% have not specified a location
  • 55.50% are not following anyone
  • 54.88% have never tweeted
  • 52.71% have no followers

You can download the full report at: http://bit.ly/sotwitter

And they blogged about part of the data here: http://bit.ly/SOTblog0609.

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  • http://www.Acognita.com/ Daniel Endy

    Chris:

    I believe a large portion of these 'inactive' accounts are actually name squatters. A twitter name only requires you to have a unique email address in order for you to register the name.

    Daniel

    @DanielEndy

  • http://ryanstephensmarketing.com/blog/ ryanstephens

    With all due respect, I disagree. I don't think a % that high even understands cybersquatting, much less Twitter. I think that the reason the churn for Twitter is so high is that people all over hear the mainstream “buzz” and see it on traditional networks and want to see what it's all about. They sign up for an account and don't see the value in it or “just don't get it.”

    I have so many friends (GenYers, who traditionally jump on the next 'new' thing) who think it's incessant self-indulgent narcissistic crap. You don't know how many times I've heard someone tell me “What's all the hype about. What's wrong with our society that we care what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast.” While the cost of entry is minimal, the ability to see the value is significantly higher for most.

  • http://www.soapboxincluded.com/ Brandon Mendelson

    Hi Ryan,

    I have to disagree with you in part. Twitter, unlike the other platforms out there has a learning dip that every user encounters. Many folks start the service, leave for a few months until enough of their friends are using it, and then jump back in the saddle. So I tend to think the Hubspot numbers are accurate, but only tell the beginning of the story, not the end which is more important for brands and other folks.

    Likewise, I know many GenYers (including myself as part of that group) who are using Twitter because they want to explore new publishing opportunities and network where potential opportunities rest. Those that focus on what the celebrities are doing miss the point and value of the service.

  • http://www.kaaslaw.com/ Bad Chris Brogan

    What's interesting about this data is it takes into account some of the “third-party app” shortfalls we hear about in other studies. It just confirms what those studies have been saying.

  • http://www.innogage.com/ Tom Williams

    Pretty cool paper. The Hubspot guys are good guys. I'm not surprised by the findings that 1/2 of twitter accounts are basically shells w/no activity. This is still better than the NYT recent blog study in which they found 95% of all blogs haven't been updated in the last 6 mos. Are blogs and twitter turning into a social media graveyard???

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  • http://ryanstephensmarketing.com/blog/ ryanstephens

    Brandon,

    Obviously, I can't speak for your circle and your friends, but I do know that -most- of the stats I've seen show the demographic on Twitter to be older than the GenYers.

    You and I use it to network, explore new publish opportunities, and network. My friends in this online space do to, but the percentage of my real-life friends who use it and “get it” for these reasons are very few and far between.

    Most got on to check out what people were buzzing about, check out celebrities (why else would Twitter artificially inflate the numbers of all the celebs and leave great guys providing great value like Leo Laporte out to dry?) Because that's what resonates with the everyman, that's who they want to connect with. They're under the illusion these celebrities -might- talk to them. (And some do.)

    We're the “social media geek crowd,” the early movers. We're a tiny sliver of the whole pie.

    That isn't to say there isn't an opportunity for brands that use it as a TOOL as part of an entire marketing strategy, but I've talked to a lot of brands who have found much more value in other places. Like anything else I suspect, it really depends on what you're trying to accomplish.

    The days of setting up a Twitter account, Facebook Fan Page and a run of the mill blog are coming to an end.

  • http://twitter.com/AGORACOM AGORACOM – George

    The stats tell me that Twitter is turning into a much more effective intelligence tool and a much less effective social networking tool.

    Specifically, I believe much of the inactivity / abandonment is coming from ordinary people that signed up on all the hype but – not surprisingly – realized there was little value in keeping up to date with people's mundane movements and feelings.

    On the other hand, if you were to study the accounts of people using Twitter for business intelligence, communications, real-time reporting (i.e. Iran) and other powerful meta data activities, I would bet dollars to donuts that activity, profile completion and engagement is staggeringly high.

    Twitter is morphing into an intelligence tool and abandoning its “what are you doing” roots.

    Regards,
    George

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  • http://www.tkpartnership.com/ Leslie Carothers

    As a social media consultant officially using Twitter on behalf of BiOH polyols- a division of the largest privately held enterprise company in the country, Cargill, I am here to tell you that Twitter has proven ENORMOUSLY VALUABLE for my client

    I agree with others posting here, that the numbers reflect people trying out Twitter and jumping off when they “don't get it.” What is important is that no one(including Twitter) is ASKING those users who are jumping off, “How can we help you become engaged?” and educating those users on the benefits of Twitter. Twitter is not intuitive to use and much of the value is in the PATTERNS of interactions over time.

    Anyone who is on Twitter for a business reason and who has not yet figured out the value in it for their client needs to hire someone like Chris ( I only work in the home furnishings and related niches) to help them understand how to use Twitter for establishing REVENUE GENERATING opportunities. Pure numbers do not matter for most brands-engaged consumers talking with you in real time most certainly DO!

    I have NEVER seen a tool that can get a client's product to market FASTER and in a more GENUINELY CONNECTED TO REAL PEOPLE INVOLVED IN A TWO WAY CONVERSATION WITH YOU” way than twitter and that SPEED is instantly translatable into a dollar value for my clients. They know how much it costs them to produce a qualified lead and they know the amount of time that usually takes and they know how much they are paying the lead generating “tool” or “person” who is currently doing that for them. THAT, in my opinion, is the key ROI on twitter and I see very few people talking about that.

    So, the fact that xyz number of people are or are not using Twitter is, for my clients, irrelevant, because the community of people who ARE choosing to engage with my client and retweet their information to their communities represents not only the key influencers in the groups of people my clients wish to connect with, but, an opportunity for a two way conversation which is not available to them for this price in any other venue.

    Also, it's important to note that this study represented 4.5 million people when over 30 million are on Twitter. Even if another 15 million jump off and dis-engage, the 15 million who stay on are invaluable.

    One last thing, Twitter's main value for my clients has been in the OFFLINE relationships that have been able to be created as a result of the online connections being made here. If, as a business, you do not have someone who is VERY actively engaging on behalf of your business with the community that is choosing to follow you, you will not see nearly as much revenue beenfit as if you DO have this person in place.

    Numbers are not the key-engagement is.

  • http://commetrics.com/articles/2009-week-25/ Urs E. Gattiker

    This post gave me a chance to hear about this survey and for that I am grateful.

    I also appreciate the insightful comments I got a chance to read …..and whilst I do not run a major firm, I do work with a start-up and for us, Twitter brings some value…

    For starters, I have been able to reach out to people whose path might have never crossed with mine. Iran's current problems are an example and our benchmarking tool for blogs has helped some Iranian bloggers to get a better handle on tracking their impact. While this is insignficant for the Iranian cause, it helped our firm to reach customers in a place I never dared to think about potential users at all … ignorant me, of course :-)

    But besides reaching out, Twitter has helped me and my team members to interact with customers and potential ones of course. Yes, there are many DM's like “want to increase your Twitter followers click here….” helping some fellow user to make a buck or two from another pyramid type scheme that uses Twitter ….. Nevertheless, is it not about WHO YOU FOLLOW (for gaining insight) and who follows you (those that might look at 1 or two tweets and thereby benefit?) that we should focus on?

    In short, as long as Twitter helps me to understand my clients' needs better, why should I not use it? And yes, some people follow the Twitter fad today and another one tomorrow …. BIG question is will they purchase our product? Not likely so I don't worry too much about them :-) But I do care about those people that do know how to use Twitter somewhat effectively (e.g., if they have a webpage then they give this data or use the time to give a bio) and I thank them every day for helping me understand the world a bit better

    Have a wonderful Sunday.

    Urs
    http://Twitter.Com/ComMetrics

  • http://twitter.com/geetarchurchy geetarchurchy

    Hi Chris, Sysomos have done something similar – http://www.sysomos.com/insidetwitter/

    This study look at the recent growth of twitter and also includes more stats similar to those mentioned above.

    Interesting now that we're getting some real numbers on it!

  • David Cole

    This is a very detail study with a lot of stats that the Sysomos' one doesn't have.
    Very good one. However, Sysomos looked at almost 3 times the number of accounts
    (11m vs. 4m).

    I hope each of these two will increase the level of details and the number of accounts to get us the best report.

  • http://catskillcottageseed.com/ Richard Reeve

    As a new corporate customer of Hubspot, I can tell you that my experience has been that each and everything those guys do is top notch. Was able to get a feel for the minds that make them tick at the Inbound Marketing Summit. All I can say: Hubspot takes the blinders off…

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  • http://notstoppingbelieving.com Max

    Ryan, all that you say here is true, but doesn't argue against squatting. In fact, power users and nerds, being first movers, would be *exactly* the kind of people to go nuts in a Twitter ID gold rush.

  • http://www.bestwebimage.com/ Rob

    After downloading the PDF….you linked to, I was hoping to find how many users have more than one account. Didn't see it.

    The number one requests I get for my Twitter Toolbar is that if it can support multiple accounts. I've heard the general number of 90% of tweets are made by 10% of account holders. I wonder if those 10% are really managed by 10%?

  • http://socialmarketingman.com/ jay social media

    I see that this is a good data to follow with and there goes the meaty parts. I presume more and more people will not understand twitter.

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  • http://backgroundfinder.com/ background check

    The ability to connect on Twitter at a rate unprecedented does not mean that you should only random tweet. The idea is to build a list of the disciples who are interested in you and what is about.