Nielsen Could Have Twitter’s Retention Rates Wrong

By: Andy Beal - April 29, 2009

 Nielsen Wire posted a shocking statistic to its blog:

Currently, more than 60 percent of 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.

The post also included a comparison of Twitter’s retention rate, compared to Facebook’s and MySpace’s:

But–and it’s a big but–did Nielsen fail to take into account that many Twitter users start off using the web site interface, then quickly migrate to a third-party application? That’s the suggestion Brendan O’Connell offered up.

A quick look at Twitstat seems to back up his theory. Twitstat is tracking over 200 different Twitter applications and, as the chart below shows, only 27% of Twitter users are using the web interface:

Of course, if we’re to question Nielsen’s numbers, we should also question Twitstat’s, but that 40% retention rate may not tell the full story.

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Andy Beal

About the Author

Andy Beal Andy Beal is an internet marketing consultant and considered one of the world's most respected and interactive search engine marketing experts. Andy has worked with many Fortune 1000 companies such as Motorola, CitiFinancial, Lowes, Alaska Air, DeWALT, NBC and Experian.

You can read his internet marketing blog at Marketing Pilgrim and reach him at andy.beal@gmail.com.

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