Nielsen Media, the company that does the Nielsen ratings for TV shows, did a study on the number of users who sign up with Twitter and then don’t come back. Or, as they call it, Twitter Quitters.
The study and report, I think, is highly flawed. They only looked at those people who use Twitter.com to access their Twitter accounts. As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, there are far too many highly useful tools on both mobile devices and computers that make using Twitter easier and, in my opinion, better. Nielsen didn’t report on those users, which I would hazard a guesstimate to be no less than 35% and most likely a good bit higher percentage. Use TweetDeck? Tweetie? Twitterific? Twitterfone? Twhirl? You’re not a part of their study data.
Here’s a bit of what they said, and a couple of nifty graphs to illustrate their flawed viewpoint:
Currently, more than 60 percent of U.S. Twitter users fail to return the following month, or in other words, Twitter’s audience retention rate, or the percentage of a given month’s users who come back the following month, is currently about 40 percent.
Maybe we’re jumping the gun. Twitter is still something of a fledgling, and surely some other sites that eventually lived up to Twitter-like hype suffered from poor retention in the early days. Compare it to the two heavily-touted behemoths of social networking when they were just starting out. Doing so below, we found that even when Facebook and MySpace were emerging networks like Twitter is now, their retention rates were twice as high. When they went through their explosive growth phases, that retention only went up, and both sit at nearly 70 percent today.
Nielsen, in their own words, admits to “jumping the gun”, but I think their assumption that all and/or most users access Twitter through the Twitter.com website to be absurd. In effect, it makes this “study” highly suspect and, most likely, highly inaccurate.