Twitter quitters are fleeing the site in droves

While new Tweeters are flocking to the micro-blogging site, retention rate is a dismal 40%

Ask any high school kid - soaring popularity loses some of its luster if more than half of your new friends ditch you after the first month.

And that's the problem that Twitter Inc. executives are facing.

It seems that while people are joining the micro-blogging site in droves, a whole lot of them don't sticking around for long. A Nielsen Co. report released Tuesday shows that 60% of Twitter users do not return to the microblogging site the next month. And for the 12 months prior to Oprah Winfrey joining Twitter this month with great media fanfare, the site had a retention rate of less than 30%.

"Let there be no doubt: Twitter has grown exponentially in the past few months with no small thanks to celebrity exposure," wrote David Martin, vice president of Primary Research at Nielsen Online, in a blog post. "People are signing up in droves, and Twitter's unique audience is up over 100% in March. But despite the hockey-stick growth chart, Twitter faces an uphill battle in making sure these flocks of new users are enticed to return to the nest."

And Twitter has been having staggering growth in the last several months. A few weeks ago, online traffic tracker comScore Inc. reported that Twitter had a 131% increase in U.S. visitors just from February to March of this year. And that news came on the heels of another comScore report released earlier this month showing that Twitter traffic jumped 700% in February compared to the same month last year.

While part of Twitter's meteoric growth has been linked to an influx of middle-aged users, it's also been gaining a lot of mainstream media attention. Everyone from Oprah to a NASA astronaut to the women of The View television program have not only been Twittering but talking about it - a lot.

Is this just because Twitter is a fledgling site that maybe hasn't found its footing yet?

Not really, according to Neilsen. Compared to the early years of social networking giants Facebook and Myspace, Twitter's retention is still bad. Both Facebook and Myspace had twice the rention rate that Twitter does now, Nielsen reported. When their audiences ballooned, so did their retention rates. Both companies now have about a 70% retention rate.

"Twitter just doesn't seem to have a whole lot of stickiness to it," said Ezra Gottheil, an analyst at Technology Business Research Inc. "People join Twitter ... and then it has to be an on-going commitment. Twitter's charm is that it's immediate and instant. The minute you get busy, it's usefulness fades."

Gottheil also doesn't see any obvious solutions for turning Twitter's retention problem around.

"It's a major head scratcher because it's intrinsically a slice of time," he said, noting that when the influx of new users ebbs, the people quitting Twitter will really take a toll on the site. "I hope they reach a phase of general stability. It has to level off at some point and it won't level off at everyone in the whole world using Twitter."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags twittersocial networkingmicroblogging

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?