Twitter quitters: dedicated users more valuable than retention rates?


twitter_small.jpgADOTAS — Celebrities are fickle, but let’s hope Twitter users show a bit more loyalty.

Oprah became the latest, perhaps biggest star to get on Twitter, and now appears bored by the whole micro-blogging, real time (distracting) universe. That in itself is not that big of a deal, sorry all you moms out there. But taken as an example of a typical user newbie experience, could it be a glimpse into limited reach for Twitter?  

According to Nielsen, Twitter, with a unique audience up an astonishing 100 percent since March, has had problems keeping its newest members. More than 60 percent of Twitter users quit the following month. For most of the past 12 months, Twitter has languished below 30 percent retention. By plotting the minimum retention rates for different Internet audience sizes, it is clear that a retention rate of 40 percent will limit a site’s growth to about a 10 percent reach figure.

When Facebook and MySpace were emerging networks, 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.

At MediaMemo notes, Nielson might be missing users, and even if accurate, Twitter’s numbers are still big. Andrew Chen also lays out an interesting agrument that any metrics should take into account dedicated, repeat users not just retention numbers.

— Express your opinion, comment below.


  1. People only have so much time that they can devote to social networking. With each new network such as Twitter it seems that the overall retention may possibly also drop over a period of time for other social networks also as the whole pie of social networks is diluted with every new “hot” new social network.

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