Twitter is 10 years old this year, making one of the grand-daddies of the social networking family. The platform’s 313 million monthly active users send more than 500 million Tweets every day. More importantly for marketers, Twitter users are actively discovering and interacting with businesses through the social network.
Sixty-six percent of Twitter users have discovered a new small or medium-sized business (SMB) through the network, 79 percent have retweeted an SMB, and a whopping 94 percent plan to make a purchase from the SMBs they follow. And that’s not just talk. Sixty-nine percent have already purchased from an SMB because of something they saw on Twitter.
Twitter may not be the media darling it used to be, but after a full decade online, Twitter’s user base is still growing. And the number of users who interact with the site every day is holding steady at 38 percent in 2015, up slightly from the 36 percent who used the site every day in 2014.
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How much can you really share with Twitter users about your brand when you’re limited to 140 characters? The answer is plenty—as long as you target your message appropriately. A solid understanding of social media demographics will help you make the most of every single character by talking only to the people who are there ready and waiting to read and interact with your Tweets. Let’s take a look at who’s using Twitter right now, so you can plan how to connect with this active social media user base to maximize your follower list and make it easy for those followers to amplify your message.
Twitter location demographics
The most important thing to know about Twitter location demographics is that 79 percent of accounts are based outside the United States—perhaps not surprising given that Twitter supports more than 40 languages.
eMarketer found that the top three countries by user count outside of the United States are Brazil, Japan, and Mexico, and that there’s serious growth happening in India—a major emerging market that is high on the radar of many marketers. ComScore also recently noted that 54 percent of the online population in Central America uses Twitter—compared to only 23 percent of the adult online population in the United States.
Global brands can take great advantage of Twitter’s international reach to build excitement for upcoming product launches around the world. For example, PlayStation’s Tweet announcing the release date of an anticipated game quickly gained 1,800 Retweets and 4,200 likes.
Confirmed: Inside is coming to PS4 on August 23. pic.twitter.com/Q9nddQNtsK
— PlayStation (@PlayStation) August 3, 2016
But you don’t need to be as big as PlayStation to leverage Twitter’s international user base. Matias Tombolini, an Argentinian economics professor and author, established himself as a social media influencer with a Twitter follow rate seven times the average in his industry by focusing on Latin American Twitter users with his Spanish-language Twitter account. He’s now racked up more than 103,000 followers.
But it’s not all about international markets: Twitter has 65 million users located in the U.S., most of them concentrated in the big cities. Thirty percent of urban online Americans use Twitter, compared to 21 percent of suburbanites and just 15 percent of rural residents.
Twitter age demographics
The common narrative is that young people are abandoning the older social networks for shiny new ones, but the numbers show that they’re sticking with Twitter in big numbers. A third of American teens use Twitter, according to a Pew Research study of teen social media usage. In fact, high-school-aged teens are the most active age demographic on the social network: a full 42 percent of online youth aged 15 to 17 use Twitter.
Twitter usage starts to slide a little as soon as those kids hit 18, another Pew report shows, but 32 percent of internet users aged 18 to 29 continue to use the service. That rate basically holds steady until users hit age 50.
Then, things again take a deep dive: only 13 percent of those aged 50 to 64 use Twitter. Once Internet users hit age 65, they essentially disappear from Twitter altogether, with only six percent of senior citizens using the service.
If you’re a bit of a night owl (hoot!), you’re likely already very familiar with a master of Twitter engagement for teenage and millennial users. Does this guy look familiar?
— Fallon Tonight (@FallonTonight) August 6, 2016
Friend got on an elevator and said “Call me DJ Tanner cuz this is a Full House!" He then rode to his floor in total silence. #WhyDidISayThat
— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) August 3, 2016
This one simple Tweet got more than 7,000 likes and 1,200 Retweets. Fallon’s Tonight Show hashtags regularly become trending topics in the United States and around the world.
Sure, Fallon has a popular TV show that boosts his profile, but small companies can also engage young people by encouraging them to interact through Twitter. In a campaign targeting teenagers studying for their drivers’ tests, educational company Aceable asked teenage users to upload photos of themselves after passing their driving exams, then used the images (with permission) to promote their Drivers’ Ed app. That user-generated content became the company’s most effective strategy for promoting downloads of the app.
Twitter gender demographics
The gender balance among Twitter users flip-flops from the early teen years to the older teen years and back again in adulthood.
Among young teenagers (13 to 14 years old), more boys use Twitter than girls: 23 percent compared to 19 percent. However, once they hit 15, girls overtake boys by a wide margin. Teenage girls have a lot to say, and they’re saying it on Twitter: almost half of girls aged 15 to 17 (49 percent) use the service, compared to 34 percent of boys. If you’re marketing to teen girls, Twitter is a network you can’t afford to ignore.
In adulthood, things flop back again, with a slightly higher percentage of men using Twitter: 25 percent compared to 21 percent of women.
The divide between men and women is greater for parents with children under the age of 18. While only 19 percent of online moms use Twitter, 27 percent of online dads embrace the service (7.5 million people identify themselves as dads in their Twitter bios).
That said, the moms that do use Twitter are ready and willing to engage with brands. They are 67 percent more likely to research products using Twitter and 45 percent more likely to make purchases based on Twitter than are women without children.
One lesson to learn from parents’ active engagement with Twitter? You’ll score big if you can share a feel-good family moment. Jamie Oliver got more than 1,500 retweets and more than 17,000 likes when he posted a charming photo of his newborn son.
And then this just happened guys !! IT'S A BABY BOY ! Everyone in the Oliver family is very surprised & beyond happy pic.twitter.com/EPhzhPZ5R3
— Jamie Oliver (@jamieoliver) August 8, 2016
Twitter income demographics
Twitter use is split fairly evenly across the income brackets, according to a Pew Research study, which shows the following Twitter use:
- 21 percent of those earning less than $30,000
- 19 percent of those earning between $30,000 and $49,000
- 25 percent of those earning between $50,000 and $74,900
- 26 percent of those earning over $75,000
Twitter demographics takeaways
Put it all together and you’ll find a few key Twitter demographics. In the United States, urban teen girls are far and away the largest demographic segment. (And if you doubt the power of teen girls online, consider that they were the driving force behind the Damn Daniel viral moment this spring, and that it helped Vans sell an unusually high number of plain white shoes.)
Moms with kids under 18 are an important demographic, too, since they’re specifically using Twitter to make purchasing decisions.
But don’t forget that the largest audience on Twitter is outside of the United States. If you’re marketing internationally—especially in the up-and-coming markets of Central America and Asia—Twitter can connect you with a broad user base.
You should also know that 82 percent of active Twitter users access the service on mobile devices, so the content you share through your Tweets should be optimized for mobile viewing.
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