Only 13% of Twitter users still tweet

Signing up new members is the easy part -- getting them to stay active proves more difficult, according to a new report.

By MSN Money Partner Mar 24, 2014 11:30AM

The Wall St. Journal on MSN MoneyThe Twitter logo is displayed on a mobile device © Bethany Clarke/Getty ImagesBy Yoree Koh, The Wall Street Journal

To celebrate its eighth birthday, Twitter (TWTR) released a nifty tool that allows users to travel back in their timelines to find the first tweet they ever sent.

But here's the thing: The first tweet is the easiest. Getting users to send follow up tweets is the hard part.

According to a forthcoming report from Twopcharts, a website that monitors Twitter account activity, about 40 percent of the 20 million accounts that are registered on Twitter each month send at least one tweet the month they sign up. This excludes accounts that were suspended or deleted.

By the time Twitter celebrates its ninth birthday next year, Twopcharts estimates only a quarter of those accounts will still be tweeting.

The data illustrate the difficulty in getting users to be active participants on the service, underscoring the bigger issue of user retention that has been dogging the company for years. For the uninitiated, Twitter can be a confusing service to figure out with people using a kind of foreign shorthand to converse.

While Twitter can target advertisements to users based on their interests indicated just by who they follow, the more active the users are on the service the better.

Twitter can still serve ads to passive observers who just read tweets. But the company only makes money when a user engages with the ad. That means retweeting, replying, favoriting or clicking on the ad. Twopcharts tracks retweets and replies but not favorites.

To date, about 1.5 billion Twitter accounts have been registered, according to the Amsterdam-based Twopcharts. Of these, 955 million still exist today, but only 13 percent have tweeted in the last 30 days. That is roughly half of the 241 million monthly active users Twitter said that it had as of the end of 2013. Twitter defines a monthly active user as an account that logs in at least once a month – the user does not necessarily have to tweet anything.

Twopcharts founder Adrianus Wagemakers said that he is only able to tell when an account has tweeted something, not when it has logged in. Wagemakers monitors the unique user ID numbers assigned to each Twitter account as they are created. Wagemakers's full report will be released the first week of April.

A Twitter spokesman declined to comment, saying the company does not comment on third-party data.

Twopcharts's data show that Twitter accounts created in more recent years are less active than the ones started by early adopters from 2006-2011. About 25 percent of the accounts created in 2008 are still tweeting today whereas only about 10.7 percent of the accounts created in 2012 are tweeting a little over a year later.


New active accounts      

Tweeting in Feb. 2014        



4 million

1 million



68.1 million

10.9 million



112 million

13.9 million



180.2 million

22.4 million



251.8 million

27.1 million



284.4 million

36.6 million


The Twopcharts report also highlights the proliferation of spam being created on the service.

Wagemakers says about half of the accounts registered in 2014 have been suspended by Twitter likely because the accounts were spam, compared to 28 percent in 2012. Twitter suspends accounts that exhibit spam-like behavior such as following and unfollowing other accounts in large and frequent batches. In all, roughly 500 million registered accounts have been suspended since Twitter was born, according to Wagemakers.

More from The Wall Street Journal

Mar 24, 2014 1:34PM
So many people today think that every moment of their lives is important, and that everyone else is interested.  They are wrong.  It's a byproduct of the reality TV mentality, but I for one couldn't care less about seeing what is up every moment of their lives, or sharing what is up with mine.  That level of intimacy is for family or close friends if they ask, not strangers. 
Mar 24, 2014 3:07PM
I am not a Luddite but I think Twitter is idiotic. I am sure there are situations where it can be beneficial like when a group of folks are traveling and want to transmit details of where to meet up, etc, but to "follow" some ding dong, count me out.
Mar 24, 2014 3:58PM
I do not do Facebook or Twitter or any of it.  It is all just a big waste of time and is so fake. 
Mar 27, 2014 8:55AM
Social media are a fad. People only care about themselves, not others.
Mar 24, 2014 3:54PM
The use of any and all "social media" is inversely related to the valuation you have for the time on your clock and the time in your mind. It's why this stuff is especially popular with youngsters.
Mar 24, 2014 4:03PM
We tried, came back a bit but, overall another bad day; why? Because manipulators can do it, these scumbags can get away with anything down here because the SEC opts to ignore the whole thing and do nothing....Any way you look at it it was another horrible day for the good guys, gave it a run towards the end but too many of these cheating crooks....Oh well, we will see what tomorrow brings us.
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