Twitter – a dive into their August AU numbers

Back in May I looked in detail at user numbers around Twitter in Australia.

The main points were the following (full article here –>


– 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

So now it’s almost October … and since then the site has evolved (new homepage design) plus has had a charmed run with PR and media covering it non stop.

Interestingly – if I write about Twitter on this blog it draws a load of traffic. Even a brief mention causes a traffic spike.

So anyway … Andrew Hunter from ninemsn was looking (on Twitter interestingly) for demographic info on Twitter users and found my May post. I thought it was probably time for an update on who’s using the site and how often.

I looked at Nielsen’s Netview numbers for August.

Gender wise the split is pretty much even. 52% male and 48% female.

However – in terms of consumption – females account for 67.8% of pageviews … males the remaining 32.2%.

So – there’s more males than females using the site but the female users are much heavier users.

If we look at ages

10% are under 18
10.3% are 18-24
22.3% are 25-34
33.3% are 35-49
24% are 50+

18-24 are the heaviest users in terms of pages consumed … they account for 10.3% of users but 22.8% of pages consumed.

So whilst 79% of Twitter users are aged over 25 … they are getting very strong traction in the 18-24 age bracket.

And it appears that the older the user, the less engaged. Just over 57% of users are 35+ … but this group only accounts for 40.6% of pageviews.

Yes – and I say this every time – I realise some Twitter users don’t use … but this doesn’t mean looking deeper into the domain numbers doesn’t give some insight into the users. (some may question this statement)

What about general numbers?

Of the 1.5m people who use the site, they generally spend around 10 minutes on it each month … and return just over 4 times.

Let’s compare these with Facebook. (no I’m not claiming they’re the same – it’s just a comparison)

Of the 8.1m people who use the site, they generally spend around 6 hours 28 minutes on it each month … and return just over 20 times.


13 responses to “Twitter – a dive into their August AU numbers

  1. dudesvanyacouldtake

    I almost never go to twitter Shep – it’s always Twittelator & Thwirl

  2. Kevin Alphonso

    Great update Ben. Did you get any detail on statewise split. The data showing that Females are heavy users is intriguing. Any theories on why?

  3. There is only one fatal problem with all these numbers. Like the flawed online advertising models like CPM / impressions, social media is not about reach it is about engagement and unfortunately approximately 85% of registered users of Twitter are totally inactive.

    So the real number of active users is very, very low so you need to heavily qualify any numbers such as 780k or 1.5m users. The real number is actually around 225k active users.

    Further, 94% of Twitter users have less than 100 followers and 92.4% follow less than 100 people.

    Lastly, 75% of all Twitter use comes from only 5% of users.

    The key here is that social influence marketing (social media) is NOT about technology and bright shiny objects like Twitter and Facebook etc.

    Part of the strategy development for an integrated commitment with campaigns is understanding your target audiences behaviour and socialtechnographics profile. Once you have worked through all of those, then you can lastly decide on what is the appropriate technology.

    Australia has 11.5m active internet users and if only 225k (1.9%) are active Twitter users then you have to be very sure that these people are your target audience or at least your target influencers.

  4. talkingdigital

    hi martin,

    thanks for the adds – what is the source of these stats you’re quoting?

  5. talkingdigital

    hey kevin … in terms of statewide split the current Nielsen panel doesn’t allow this. Frustrating – sure – but from all accounts they’re working on it.

    Re the gender split and females consuming more pages … I am unsure the rationale behind that. Definitely worth a closer look.

  6. Hi Shepard,

    I have access to global & local real numbers vs panel data @ Microsoft. I can ensure you the numbers are accurate + or – a few % points. 😀

    There are detailed online reports generally supporting the real data:

    emarketer Do You Know Who’s on Twitter Aug 2009 –

    Hubspot’s State of the Twittersphere Report June 2009 –

    I can supply other public sources as well from Forrester and many others.


  7. talkingdigital

    hi martin … as i mentioned on twitter i’d be reluctant to mix multiple data sources and assume you have reached a sound conclusion. john grono lurks around here somewhere, i am sure he’d have an opinion on this.

    btw – my name is ben … not shepard. cheers

  8. “Yes – and I say this every time – I realise some Twitter users don’t use”.

    You say it every time with a yawn that really seems to miss the point. It’s not *some* users that don’t use, it’s the vast majority, and it’s the ones who are most representative and important. Just from your own experience, would 10 minutes/3.6 times really describe the people you know who be described as typical active Twitter users?

    What’s the evidence that usage gives “good insight into the users”. I’d say it’s anything but; the type of user and style of usage between the website and a desktop or mobile client is completely different.

    There are some interesting discussion topics around Twitter that I’d like to see you explore…
    – WHY has it had such a charmed run with PR and media, and why are people so passionate about it that it triggers traffic spikes and heated comments?
    – Why does there seem to be this polarisation between people who use Facebook and people who have largely abandoned it in embracing Twitter?
    – Why is it that Twitter adoption exploded through 2008 into early 09, then seemingly screeched to a halt – what is it that differentiates the many devotees from the majority abandoners/avoiders?
    – How could we establish useful usage patterns for Twitter, and how would they be valuable to marketers? (The API is open, it would be easy for someone like Nielsen to come up with analysis that was actually useful – Tweets per day, #days tweeted, replies, links tweeted, etc etc)

    The point you always seem to be trying to make with these posts is “Twitter isn’t actually very important”, which there may be some truth to in terms of the average of the population. But you and I know that Twitter is *very* important to a certain type of user – one that may be relatively small but that is influential – and I reckon you’d do better to do some exploration around that point.

  9. Hey Sheps,

    Once again thanks for the update on the numbers! I am very skeptical about the reach of Twitter. In my opinion it is way to over hyped.


  10. Thanks Ben. Awesome work. Beers are on me. Now, for tomorrow’s blog …

  11. Further to my comments yesterday, someone pointed out to me this interview with Biz 2 years ago:

    “the API … has easily 10 times more traffic than the website”.

    So yep that’s 2 years ago, much has changed since then; one might speculate that with the rise of iPhone (App Store didn’t exist then) it’s now much higher, but for simplicity, let’s assume it’s still about that.

    For your assertion that usage reflects Twitter use generally to hold (ie, 10 mins/3.6 visits per month), there would have to be 11x the number of people actually using the product, ie, 7.8m.

    We know that’s not remotely true. Indeed we kinda know that every API user is visiting the website regularly to manage their followers.

    So it’s more plausible to assume that the average user is spending 11x your stated figures using the product: 110 mins/39.6 visits per month.

    Taking Martin Walsh’s figure of 225k active users (which I’m willing to accept), our average usage looks more like 381 mins/137.3 visits.

    Sure these stats are extremely speculative, but to me they’re vaguely plausible. They allow for a decent number who only check once every couple of days, but also for the many who are on it all day every day, of which we intuitively know there are several thousand – even if you only count professional “social media experts”.

  12. What I tried to get across in my first comment post was that we shouldn’t be spending too much time focusing on or debating the numbers.

    We should be spending time on the areas of social media / social influence marketing which are lacking at the moment and that is common sense matched with targeting your intended customer / influencers behaviour.

    I hear far too much conversation around the number of people on social networking sites but marketers and agencies have no idea or understanding of WHY people are on those networks and therefore what the underlying behavioural attributes are.

    It may be appropriate to incorporate Twitter as part of your social media program but if that decision wasn’t based upon a clear strategy, objectives, tactics and analysis of your target audience (which includes an analysis of their social technographic profile) then why are you on it at all? You can read more of my thoughts in my Monologue to Dialogue Digital Marketing & Social Influence Marketing deck on SlideShare –


  13. Roger Lintzeris

    I’m a little late on this post but a good read nevertheless and as you mentioned in the article, the mere mention of Twitter has sparked healthy debate.

    It seems the social argument of Twitter has spilt over into media land (…in a galaxy far far away) and continues to polarise opinions.

    Only one way to settle this debate….let’s get Kevin Spacey on Letterman.

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