Twitter Use Growing Daily, Helped By Smartphones: Pew

Adults using Twitter nearly doubled from November 2010 to February 2012, though the number of daily Twitter users quadrupled during that time. Smartphone users, especially young adults, may be more frequent Twitter users, Pew says.

Twitter users are growing more engaged with the application, suggests a study by the Pew Research Center€™s Internet & American Life Project, released May 30. While the total number of online adults using Twitter has grown only modestly over the last year, the percentage of those adults now using Twitter daily has doubled between May 2011 and February 2012, when 8 percent of users stated daily usage.

Compared with the 2 percent online every day during 2010, Twitter€™s daily users have quadrupled.

€œThe rise of smartphones might account for some of the uptick in usage because smartphone users are particularly likely to be using Twitter,€ said the report.

The heaviest users, Pew found, are black Internet users, with 28 percent using Twitter and 13 percent doing so on a typical day. The second-largest demographic was adults between 18 and 29 years of age, 26 percent of whom are Twitter users, though their cohorts on the high end were found to be affecting the scale; when Pew looked at users between just 18 and 24 years old, Twitter use rose to 31 percent. Twitter use by the group in total was still nearly double that of Internet users between the ages of 30 and 49.

The third most significant user base, Pew found, included Internet users living in urban and suburban environments, versus those in rural areas.

Users in households earning less than $30,000 a year also turned to Twitter the most€”19 percent, versus 14 percent in households earning between $50,000 and $74,999.

€œTwitter use within the overall population remained steady over the last year, and usage rates within most major demographic groups changed little over the same time period. The youngest adults €¦ are the primary exception to this trend€”nearly one-third of Internet users in this age group now use Twitter, up from 18 percent in May of 2011 and 16 percent in late 2010,€ reported Pew. €œTwitter use by those in their mid-20s to mid-40s largely leveled off in the last year after roughly doubling between late 2010 and mid-2011.€

Returning to growing smartphone use as a partial explanation for Twitter patterns, Pew says that this April it added a question to its survey, asking adult cell phone users if they use Twitter specifically on their mobile phones. More than 9 percent of cell phone owners said they do, with 5 percent doing so daily.

Young adults€”those 18 to 24 year olds€”are most likely to use Twitter within the context of their mobile devices, with 22 percent saying they do so. African-Americans and Latinos, both groups with high rates of smartphone use, says Pew, also stood out as heavy users of Twitter on mobile devices.

The rising use of social networking apps has made them a way for businesses to engage with customers and build brand appeal, while blogging by businesses is declining.

Still, a good number of businesses, especially small and midsize (SMB) ones, are finding it a challenge to get on board with these newer social tools. According to April data from SMB Digital Scape, less than 20 percent of SMB Websites include a link to a Facebook page, while even fewer include links to sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn.

Consumers are growing to expect certain levels of €œSoLoMo€€”or, social, local and mobile media, said Charles Laughlin, with research firm BIA/Kelsey. €œIf SMBs don€™t catch up with consumers, national players could gain a critical advantage over local independent providers.€

Sprint, for example, has no fewer than six Twitter feeds.