Facebook/Twitter/myspace – some AU numbers

Is it just me , or is it weird when people talk about a product that is taking the world by storm but they don’t have any local consumption numbers around it.

That seems to be the case with Twitter in this market … ‘yeah it’s massive, we should be on it’ is the call … but generally it’s not backed up by usage numbers, patterns etc.

So here you go – I’ve looked into trusty Nielsen Netview and gotten some lukewarm, mushy facts around some key areas

– How many people are using the product?
– How long are they spending per month on it?
– How often do they return
– What is their key demographic?


– How many people are using the product? 4.7m people in AU
– How long are they spending per month on it? 3 hours, 50 minutes
– How often do they return. Over 14 times a month
– What is their key demographic? 32% of Facebook users are aged 25-34


– How many people are using the product? 1.9m people in AU
– How long are they spending per month on it? 55 minutes
– How often do they return. 5.6 times a month
– What is their key demographic?  28.5% of myspace users are aged 12-17


– How many people are using the product? 780,000 people in AU
– How long are they spending per month on it? 10 minutes
– How often do they return. 3.6 times a month
– What is their key demographic? 36% of Twitter users are aged 35-49

Ok so what are my takeouts.

1/ Facebook is huge. Despite some whinging about the new interface time spent per month keeps increasing. The usage patterns around this property are phenomenal. It’s a shame the digital strategist types have jumped onto a new wagon (Twitter) as Facebook is surely worth further investigation

2/ Twitter is growing, sure, but lets be realistic here. Users are spending around 10m a month with the product – hardly earth shattering. And most return on average just over 3 times a month … again, very low for a so-called micro-blogging service (I’d assume active users would be on multiple times a day not multiple times a month). Before anyone trips me up, yes I am aware that this doesn’t include products like Tweetdeck etc … anyway, having 1/2/3m users doesn’t mean anything really unless you can commercialise it. Look at Facebook and myspace.

3/ Lets look back in time a little. Remember 2004-2005. Myspace was growing at 30-50% a month for an extended period. Engagement was growing too. It was considered that it would become almost a web replacement and marketing purposed web pages would be custom profiles. At the time it was beyond earth shattering and the so-called ‘future of media’ because most of us didn’t understand it. ‘Traditional’ media couldn’t stop covering it – CNN/Fox News/Comedy shows/SNL …  now look at it.

4/ Twitter is for older people. 12-24 yo’s only make up just under 20% of Twitter’s audience … compared to 23% of Facebook and 43% of Myspace. Is it a coincidence that over 60% of twitter users are over 35 … and most of the Twitter cheersquad (ie it’s going to change everything) are also over 35 or fast approaching?


22 responses to “Facebook/Twitter/myspace – some AU numbers

  1. Glad I’m not the only person who likes it, uses it, has friends and colleagues using it, but really just thinks everyone should calm down a bit.

    I’m not frivoulously recommending to clients, I’m managing whole sentences without mentioning it and occasionally go whole days forgettting to use it at all.

    I’ve decided it makes me a Twittercrite. And I like being a Twittercrite.


  2. Nice work Ben. Did you get any stats on FriendFeed? One the subject of Twitter apps like TweetDeck, remember there are many more. Many tweeps are drawn to the apps for manageability reasons so numbers and time spent are likely to be much higher.

  3. talkingdigital

    i’m not so sure the numbers of tweetdeck and equivalents are that high Paul. I’d estimate it’d add maybe 10% extra user numbers if that. None of those sites appear within Netview (which means when extrapolating out the panel there’s less than 50k users of each)

  4. I think one of the widest issues for twitter and these networks in particular has been accessibility as they have all been computer bound, which should be remedied soon with both networks In NZ picking it up on their text service
    It would be interesting to revisit these figures in 6 months time when twitter in particular is much more accessible. The demographic proves this at the moment , I am guessing that one more accessible we will see considerably more uptake in the teenage/twenties market as they are more cellphone users.

  5. Pingback: Twitter: Just not that big in Australia? « Mandygriffiths’s Blog

  6. Hundreds of surveys and yet, again, nobody asked me. 🙂

  7. I know you conceeded the point about the twitter stats not including tweetdeck and other clients, but I think these apps impact on the twitter numbers much more than has been mentioned.

    Twitterers using Tweetdeck, Twhirl or equivalent are (if I and my network are anything to go by) sitting on twitter all day. Adding these users stats would considerably change the 10 mins average (which is probably just the time it takes to manage an account and clock in new followers each day) and lift it well into the 4-or-so hours average usage per day (disclaimer: that is a total guestimate).

    Also while ravenorcrow references the new Vodafone NZ / Twitter deal as likely to be a key driver in mobile twitter usage, don’t forget that anyone using a BlackBerry, iPhone or similar already has mobile twitter. If the business events (and pubs) I have been frequenting are in any way typical, mobile twitter client use (such as TwitterBerry) is already noteable and will drive these numbers even higher.

  8. Good post and good point but I think you missed out some very important information and analysis. Not to mention the date of the survey to which your figures derive from. The stats change rapidly so a sampling date is imperative.

    Consumption is different to reach, influence or, in fact, perceived value. One thing to remember with every “new thing” on the web, none of them is “the” thing, but each can be something, either alone or in combination with others, to contribute to online value.

    Actual registered user numbers are great, but time spent and amount used are pretty weak indicators.

    time per month:
    You can’t directly compare twitter with facebook as so many people are using twitter on mobile phones and desktop apps which do not count as straight http hits. And while Facebook and mySpace are designed to spend time in, Twitter is designed to be brief and a short time-commitment, so spending less time on a twitter web presence is actually an expected outcome.

    how often returning:
    again, not a useful number, as many people leave the facebook login open in the background and return to it and many people, like me, read the twitter stream more than contributing to it, using online 3rd party sites, and desktop and mobile tools. if you compare items consumed, for example, 10 minutes in twitter means you have read at least 30 posts, if not 100 or more. That compares favourably to items consumed in mySpace, where you could only hope to hear 10-20 songs in the 55 minutes described.

    average demographic:
    How can you know? Twitter doesn’t store my age or income and the most it knows about my location is my city.

  9. Hey great research – thanks for sharing. Interesting ! Re Twitter – I’d also be interested to know how many users are consultants and/or people who work independently. I guess it could just be my network, but it seems like a lot. For many of us who work as sole-operators in single-person offices, Twitter is like that little moment when you spin your chair around to a co-worker and say, “Hey, do you know what? …”

  10. I know there are lots of supporters of Twitter out there, but i just don’t get it and neither do my network of friends. I think it will find its place among the 12-25 age group with use primarily via mobile.

    But for me, between my phone, 2 x email accounts, SMS, facebook, news & sports consumption i don’t have the time or inclination.

    And as for revenue-generation, good luck.

  11. Well put into perspective Ben. The Twitter figures are interesting. I wonder if after the Oprah/Ashton rush that the growth will actually decrease and the visits and time spent will increase. After the experimenters are weeded out we might get the more consistent users represented.

  12. Pingback: What came first: the constant need for self affirmation, or Twitter? « Mandygriffiths’s Blog

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  14. Pingback: Mashable states what I’ve been saying for months about Twitter « talking digital – Ben Shepherd

  15. Great to see some rationality bite the hype!

    We did a bank of focus groups with 120 uni students,18-24’s, in six states in June 2009. One topic was Myspace/FB/Twitter. And the results…

    Roughly (it was qual research) 20% had an account, but most said it was now dormant.

    90% had an account and used it regularly, with a few bravely holding out.

    “What’s that?” Yep. hard to believe given the hype, but we probably met 5 kids out of 120 who used it.

    Of course i remember doing research in Nov 2006 and asked about FB. Similar response, but 6 months later it was massive.

    So for twitter -it’s a “just not a youth thing now” but maybe don’t write it off yet.

    (and on an unrelated topic – i’d love to see the correlation between a persons number of tweets and lack of employment)

  16. RE: andrew maloney

    I find it hard to swallow your premise that if the “kids” consume it it must be of value and if not,m it should be off the radar. I lecture at that level and most of them consume facebook and none of them consume twitter, but that is no reason to disregard it or ignore it.
    Uni students, as well, as not the largest demographic on Facebook, either, with the over 25’s and over 45s making a very strong showing.

    And I love your “lack of employment” comment. To be sure I’d twitter less when less busy, and more when “jobseeking” but my level of twittering directly contributed to my current employment, and as a “new media” professional, I kind of needed to be twittering at this level anyway…

  17. I spend lots of time on Twitter and Secondlife, less on Facebook, but it is useful for a few things so I persist. I’ve met the most amazing people via Secondlife and Twitter and would have to say that these days Twitter is using up most of my time.

    I have had an illness so I’ve got lots of time to spend online each day, yes I’m unemployed, but that could change if *cough* a media organisation wishes to pay me to work from home.

    Does it matter if “the kids” are using it or not, I’m sorry for being one of those cranky old blokes over 40, you know, irrelevant oldies listening to their “grandpa” 80s new wave… get me my bloody walking stick and get out of my way sonny!


  18. Re: wheelyweb

    Sorry -you’ve misunderstood my premise.

    All the hype i’m hearing about using twitter is coming from youth brands.

    They seem to make the false premise that “if it’s new technology, then the kids must be in to it”. It’s what you’d expect… but it’s is not what you or have experienced and Ben’s numbers show.

    My point was that Twitter has tons of value -but not as an 18-24’s medium, not today anyway.

    And i think that’s interesting – a new piece of technology that hasn’t been adopted by 18-24’s first. Rest-assured -it still has tons of value.

  19. Pingback: Twitter – a dive into their August AU numbers « talking digital – Ben Shepherd

  20. Would be interesting to know whether we could get the same statistics for the New Zealand market? Does your trusty Nielsen Netview work on this side of the Tasman?!

  21. Pingback: Government 2.0 and Society 1.0 | Government 2.0 Taskforce

  22. Pingback: What do the Top 10 Twitter Surnames in Australia tell us? - MyHeritage.com - English blog

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