Nielsen: Twitter’s Audience Retention Rate Sucks

    April 30, 2009

Getting someone’s attention can be difficult these days; people have so many interests and so little time that convincing them to swing by a website can count as a real victory.  Unfortunately for Twitter, it’s also important to keep people around, and in this respect, statistics indicate that the micro-blogging service is failing rather miserably.

David Martin, Nielsen Online’s vice president of primary research, reported an almost startling number yesterday.  "Currently, more than 60 percent of Twitter users fail to return the following month," he wrote, "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."

Social Network Reach

Which is actually worse than a two-steps-forward-one-step-back scenario.

The bright side is that Twitter’s retention rate used to hover under 30 percent, so the number is at least improving.  But compared to what Twitter’s predecessors achieved, 40 percent remains sad.

Martin noted, "[W]e 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."

If Twitter can’t match those levels, it’s on track to meet with a whole lot of rejection and achieve popularity among only a smallish number of people.