Google Increases Twitter Traffic by 9 Percent Read On »
By Safiyyah Lanier February 24, 2010

traffic-increaseBack in December, when Google launched its real-time search, it was predicted that Twitter was going to receive a big increase in traffic, which had previously declined after a peak in the summer of 2009. So far, it looks as though those predictions were true after all. According to comScore data, there has been a 9 percent increase of unique visitors to Twitter — between December of 2009 and January 2010. The all time high was reached in January, with 21.79 million unique Twitter visitors; this number is slightly above the 21.25 million that was recorded in July of 2009, by comScore. By the end of 2009 (December), the count for unique visitors was up by 3.1 percent, over November.

Twitter seems to have seen a great impact in the month of December, thanks to the December 7 launch of Google’s real time search. Then according to Experian Hitwise, the data suggests that it was Google that was the main source for the increase in traffic to Twitter. The amount of traffic that was coming from Google was increased by 9 percent, compared to the week ending December 5 and the week ending February 13; the count jumped from 12.8 percent to 14 percent in this time period. Hitwise too saw a 5 percent increase in market share of U.S. visitors within the same time period.

It seemed only natural that Google decided to launch Buzz (a supposed competitor of Twitter and an add-on for Gmail) after spending about $15 million for Twitter’s feed. Of course, Google wants to keep majority of the incoming traffic for its own network, where they’re able to deliver more ads to users.

On the other end, for Twitter, it seems that things are looking quite promising for them. So far, they are maintaining the U.S. share of visitors, while expanding globally and on the usage of its third-party application service via APIs. Compared to Google Buzz, Twitter offers its users more freedom to control as much as they want and how much personal info they want to share — it is an already established social media network, so the odds are against Google Buzz for a while. It will also be difficult to measure the impact of Google Buzz because it is embedded in Gmail.

Last month, Evan Williams, the co-founder of Twitter, made a comment about the usage of Twitter was decreasing, saying that the microblogging service was bigger than ever. At one point, Twitter’s traffic was on the verge of flatlining in the United Stated, with figures backing up what was being perceived. Then Williams created a tweet that said “across all metrics that matter, yesterday was Twitter’s highest usage day ever. (And today will be bigger)”. A lot of people were thinking the same thing, especially since the rush of people was dying down after the media rush died. But Twitter still has the tweeters that are using the site more and more and on different platforms.

It is believed that people are still going to be signing up on Twitter and using it over the long term because Twitter is just awesome (well, they offer a lot of great stuff). Just let Clark Shirky tell it, who stated that Twitter has more raw capabilities for users than anything since (the creation of) email. It would be difficult to wait out Twitter because it is lightweight and endlessly useful, getting better as more people begin to use it. Everyone is using it, she stated that brands and institutions are using it and that Twitter is becoming a place where important conversations are taking place.

The day the co-founder predicted that Twitter had a good day and that the next day would be even bigger shows great significance. Now, media organizations continue to use Twitter more and more, increasing the site’s traffic higher. It might not be as much as before or as high as Facebook, but it will indeed be bigger and better.

Since the broadening of Twitter’s demographic (towards 24 year olds and younger), things have been going very well for the site. It has also been growing for more mature markets within the U.K. and U.S. and other places around the world. Internationally, comScore showed that Twitter jumped up 8% in unique visitors (73.5 million in January from 65.2 million in December).

Facebook Zero and Google Buzz are also trying to get a nice share of the real-time market. Not sure what will happen with Buzz, but there are predictions that Facebook Zero may have great success, since a lot of big Facebook users and mobile owners are teens that also use Twitter (this could have an impact on Twitter’s site).

Let’s look at a quick comparison of Twitter, Facebook and Google Buzz:

Facebook: The users on this site have Twitter beat; they update their profiles over 60 million times daily, which would translate to a rate of 700 profiles per second. The stats for Facebook only show profile updates. The hundreds of other activities that are on Facebook aren’t counted at all. Comments to updates and “likes” to status updates are counted, but adding links, pictures, pages or joining groups counts as nothing.

Google: After launching Buzz, there was an average of 55 posts per second. These stats were released two days after the site’s launch, so by now it could have grown a whole lot more.

Twitter: The amount of tweets per day have grown to nearly 50 million, averaging 600 tweets per second. Although, it’s kind of difficult to see the true number of tweets since a tweet is considered to be an original message, comment, retweet or links that are being shared, so each time a comment is posted to a tweet, it is counted as a tweet.

Overall, it seems that Facebook is the winner when it comes to the amount of activity that takes place on their site. Runner up would be Twitter. It seems as though we’ll have to wait a couple of years to see how Google Buzz really compares to other social media sites.

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