New Reuters Poll Suggests Twitter Has a Retention Problem (((should this be here?))))
According to a new poll of 1,067 people who have joined Twitter, 36% said they don't use the service, and 7% have admitted to shutting down their account. The poll, run by Reuters and Ipsos, was conducted over the week-long span of October 11 to 18, and has a credibility interval of plus or minus 3.4%. Most users who didn't use or deleted their Twitter accounts complained of a lack of friends on the micro-blogging network, as well as confusion as to how Twitter actually works.
Meanwhile, only 7% of 2,449 Facebook ( FB ) users reported not using the leading social network, and only 5% admitted to shutting down their account. Those results have a credibility interval of 2.3%.
Reflecting studies like these, Dan Niles, the CIO of the tech-focused hedge fun AlphaOne Capital Partners, told Reuters, "Twitter is a great service, it's still got growth in front of it. But in my opinion, I would say the opportunities are less than that of Facebook, and it has to be valued appropriately." And referring to Twitter's active users versus Facebook's, he added, "The data would seem to imply that the ultimate revenue potential for this company is less than for Facebook."
At the end of September, Twitter reported it had reached 232 active users (someone who accesses the network at least once per month), representing an increase of 6.1% from the end of June. Since June 2012, Twitter's quarter-over-quarter growth has not surpassed 11%. When Facebook was in a similar period of its development, it was easily surpassing 20% growth every quarter, and did not slow down until it reached 500 million members and hit 12% quarter-over-quarter growth.
As Twitter's CEO Dick Costolo has said, his company aims to become the "fabric of every communication in the world." However, in the company's IPO prospectus he admitted that "new users may initially find our product confusing." And that's because Twitter has stuck to its guns with how users communicate: It employs a sparse platform that limits message to 140 characters, groups those messages by topic via hashtags, and offers no extraneous features.
Commenting on this, Larry Cornett, the head of design consulting firm Brilliant Forge and a former executive of Yahoo ( YHOO ), as well as a designer at Apple ( AAPL ), said, "The average person that's coming on [Twitter], they're still baffled by it....If they want the mass adoption and that daily engagement, they have to make it really easy for people to consume."
As part of the same Reuters/Ipsos poll cited above, 2,217 people who did not use Twitter were also interviewed. Of this group, 38% said they did not find the service either interesting or useful while 13% said they simply did not understand Twitter's purpose.
According to one Las Vegas resident who was on Twitter, "I didn't really get the point of it at all. Most of them were people I wasn't interested in hearing what they had to say anyway." This same user, however, does check Facebook daily.