Robin Goad, Research Director of Hitwise UK revealed some interesting statistics regarding the growth of Twitter today.
Writing on his Hitwise blog, Goad reported UK traffic to the micro-blogging site has increased 22-fold in the last 12 months. That growth has meant that Twitter.com has leapt from the 969th most visited site (May ’08) in the UK to 38th (May ’09). The most impressive aspect of that growth is the fact that 93% of it has come in the first five months of 2009 alone.
As Goad rightly pointed out, that number in all likelihood should be even higher if you factor in the vast number of third party applications such as Seesmic, Tweetdeck and Twitterific that people use to access Twitter remotely.
On the same day it was reported that the number of companies using Facebook’s automated advertising system has tripled over the last year.
According to the article on WARC.com,
‘Brand owners are increasingly attempting to utilise the developing range of social media tools to connect with consumers, with Coca-Cola, Kraft and Starbucks among the most successful proponents of this strategy on Facebook thus far.
The website – which has 200 million users worldwide – is expected to generate ad revenues of over $300 million (€214m; £184m) in 2009, enhancing its position at the expense of rivals such as MySpace.’
Which leads me to think that if the guys at Twitter want to make any money they had better move quickly with a monetisation model to capitalise on the social network’s massive growth. Many would argue that they have already squandered an opportunity by observing this popularity tipping point rather than acting when the signs were there at the beginning of the year.
An ad supported service is a highly contenious issue that never fails to produce polar opposite opinions. But Twitter only needs to look towards MySpace to realise that sometimes your time in the sun can be finite and that perhaps now is the time to act.