This week there have been a couple of discussion-provoking Twitter studies by Nielsen making the rounds. The first, and loudest, was Nielsen’s report that 60 percent of Twitter users abandon the service in the first month, predicting that the figure augured a slim 10 percent growth rate for the microblogging site. “Twitter has enjoyed a nice ride over the last few months, but it will not be able to sustain its meteoric rise without establishing a higher level of user loyalty,” wrote David Martin, Vice President of Primary Research for Nielsen Online. “Frankly, if Oprah can’t accomplish that, I’m not sure who can,” wrote Martin, as the flames he fanned continued to
The study also reported that Twitter's retention rates are significantly lower than Facebook and MySpace.
The study was criticized by bloggers who argued that Nielsen didn’t include other sites like TweetDeck, TwitPic, Twitstat, Hootsuite, EasyTweets, and Tumblr which use Twitter feeds.
Nielsen’s just released study of these sites reveals the same retention rates. Interestingly, for most of the last year, Twitter retention rates hovered around 30 percent. They rose to 40 when Twitter hit the mainstream, suggesting that Oprah Kutcher was not the Twitter-killer some expected.
The other Nielsen study found that 57 percent of Twitter users are men, a pretty dramatic difference between the genders. The study also found that 49 percent of Twitter users are in the 35+ range, confirming that Indiana University students were correct when telling Zappo's Tony Hsieh that "Twitter's for old people."
Venture Beat’s Matt Marshall rightly notes that this study’s figures, from Q4 2008, are from before Twitter truly hit the mainstream.
In response to the studies finding that most who try Twitter are fickle Gen X males, I must ask:
Is Nielsen spying on me?