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This article was published on January 26, 2010

Are There Only 15 Million Active Twitter Users?

Are There Only 15 Million Active Twitter Users?

twitter-logoHow many people do you think are actively tweeting? If you listen to the usual tone of Twitter coverage, you would think it would be dozens of millions.

Actual figure: only between 10 and 15 million people are active on Twitter worldwide.

In perspective, Twitter is valued by its investors at one billion dollars (USD).

The data comes via a report from RJMetrics, a firm that specializes in online numbers keeping. All in all, some 17% of all Twitter accounts tweeted last month out of 75 million total accounts. When you add in the number of spam accounts in existence that always tweet, the percentage of total account being updated by real humans is lower.

Of course, Twitter is still growing. Twitter had 6.2 million new account sign-ups in December, down 20% from its peak level in July 2009. This means that Twitter added in the neighborhood of eight to nine percent of its total accounts in December alone.

On an account level, 25% of Twitter accounts have no followers, and 40% have never sent out a single Tweet. Put in perspective: 30 million Twitter accounts have never been updated. Taken even farther, 80% of all Twitter users have sent out less than ten tweets, say RJMetrics.

Twitter is still growing, but it is hardly as popular as we are led to believe. If you run the numbers on Twitter’s current private market valuation (one billion USD), Twitter is being valued at between $67 and $100 per active user account. If you take the all the accounts on Twitter, including the inactive ones, Twitter is still valued at some $13.33 per account.

Still, even though Twitter is not as large as we  perhaps thought, it is still growing rapidly. Also, Twitter has a fanatical userbase that use the site everywhere they go in all their activities. Twitter users are sometimes poked at for their dedication, but Twitter assuredly finds it endearing. Fanatics continue to recruit friends and are the stickiest of users.

At its current rate of 6 million new accounts monthly, Twitter should reach one hundred million accounts in late April or early May. That will be an achievement that very, very few companies can ever claim to have made.