Questionable Nielsen Study: 60% of Twitter Users Quit Within Four Weeks


Nielsen reports that 60% of Twitter users quit within the first month, which is quite surprising to me.

The most important information behind these 60% is probably the fact that Nielsen is only able to measure return visits to as “HotForWords” pointed out over at Mashable.

Thus, the question is how many peoply actually start using desktop clients such as Tweetdeck, Thwirl or mobile clients right from the beginning and therefore don’t return to

Twitstat provides us with the following overall statistics (not just for the first month of course):

1. Web: 27.68 %
2. TweetDeck: 12.44 %
3. Tweetie: 7.39 %
4. twitterfeed: 5.30 %
5. Twhirl: 4.11 %

The downturn of these numbers is that Twitter users have to follow @twitstat and it is not very likely that new Twitter users are actually doing so.

A more reliable statistic is provided by Tweetstats who got their data from Gnip:


Once again, this comes as a surprise, at least to me, as I would have thought that more people would use the mentioned desktop clients.

Some people might argue that Twitter desktop clients are rather a geeky kind of thing and are therefore not used by new Twitter users, such as Michael Bauser does:

I doubt that many users go straight to desktop apps in their first month of twittering. Those are for experienced (and by “experienced,” I mean “addicted”) users.

I don’t agree at all with that statement as Twitter has evolved since 2007, there are thousands of tools around it and the service can be used for online-marketing, customer support, etc.

I’m writing that due to my own experience with Twitter, let’s have a look at my very own tweetstats:


Noticed anything? ;-)

Right – I started using Twitter, relinquishing it almost immediately.


As Twitter founder Evan Williams himself pointed out at his TED Talk:

The fundamental idea is that Twitter let’s people share moments of their lives, whenever they want, be they momentous occasions or mundane ones.
It’s by sharing these moments as they’re happening that lets people feel more connected and in touch despite distance in the real time. This is the primary use we saw in Twitter from the beginning and what got us excited.

What we didn’t anticipate was the many many other uses that would evolve from this very simple system. One of the things we realized was how important Twitter could be during real time events.


Among the other interesting things that have cropped up is many things from businesses. From marketing and communications and predictable things to an insanely popular Korean Barbecue Taco truck that drives around L.A. and twitters where it stops.

Politicians have recently begun twittering.


We currently know about 2.000 pieces of software that can send Twitter updates.


So, as I had mentioned before: Twitter has evolved.
When I started using Twitter, there was hardly anyone on Twitter that I knew.
Other than that, there were no usable desktop clients and companies would have associated Twitter with birds only.

That’s why I stopped using it for a long time until I started again and realized the value of the service by using it “correctly”. You can see my presentation on How to get the most out of Twitter or another great presentation, that inspired me to create my own, called “How Twitter changed my life presentation”, which outlines lots of Twitter’s benefits. The title is a bit too dramatic for most of us though, I guess.

To cut a long story short:

I don’t see why 60% of Twitter users should stop using Twitter within four weeks regarding the value you can get out of it today.

I think the 60% mainly consists of people that try something and throw it away after 5 minutes because they don’t want to spend a little effort to actually learn something. We don’t need blinkered people acting like 5-year-olds.

What’s your experience?

Did you start using Twitter, quit for a while and came back?
Or have you been twittering ever since the service was launched?

Looking forward to reading your “Twitter history”! :-)



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  • elcario

    “I think the 60% mainly consists of people that try something and throw it away after 5 minutes because they don’t want to spend a little effort to actually learn something.” You should also consider people and companies who block accounts for further use.

    If you have a look at my stats you can see, that my twitter usage (posting) decreased since the last months and is now constant at 250-220 p.p.m. I decided to use twitter more wisely to decrease my own noise and share the pearls only. In that case, don’t forget that 260 p.p.m. means 8 tweets per day, which is still a very high value.

    Also I can’t live without tweetdeck anymore. With over 1,5k people I follow, it’s important to have groups to separate random people from the important one and friends. User defined groups is the feature I’m desperately waiting for! But I agree with you, Tweetdeck (and other desktop clients as well) are things for advanced and addicted users. Imho: Without a high Follower/Following rate you can’t get the real added value out of it, except for real time updates.

    Just my 50 cents :-)

  • Powen

    I actually resisted twitter for a long time, but once I joined I stuck with it… maybe even got a little addicted.

    It’s worth noting as well that many people have “web 2.0 fatigue” and will sign up to claim their usernames, maybe try a service for a few days before forgetting about it. I still do this with sites (hunch is the most recent example I can think of).

    Unfortunately for twitter, most people don’t begin to realize the value until they’ve stuck with posting and reading for 2-4 weeks.

  • Sally Frank

    Have you ever checked how many people are clicking on the links you put in your Tweets?
    What % of your followers actually interact with the links you tell them to click?

    You will be surprised how few it is.
    You can track clicked links by using the URL shortener

  • Stefan Martens

    @elcario Good point with companies blocking social media accounts, but I doubt that people will start using these services at all, i.e. they’ll use it at home ;-)
    I didn’t say that tweetdeck and other tools are for addictes users, that what’s that one guy commented at ;-)

    Nevertheless, I do agree that the value comes with a rising number of followers and that Tweetdeck is a great tool to handle that due to its group functionality.

    @powen I do know that kinda fatigue ;) I let the early adopters do the job and read about cropping up services at blogs such as Techcrunch before I start using it. Or I stumble across something and think that it might be useful for me and start using it.

    @Sally What’s your point after all? I’m quite satisfied with clicks coming from Twitter, especially through the network effects of re-tweets. This post got 142 Clicks and 103 Unique clicks from Twitter, which is a lot if you consider my relatively low number of followers (nearly 600).

    I’m using btw. and I’m happy with it. If you’re in the sales team or if you like the product, pls tell me why and I might give it a try. Thx.

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