The rise of social networking, and the involvement of advertisers in these channels, was one of 2010’s mega-stories—not least in the UK. Though spending in social networks is still a fraction of total online ad spending, many UK brands have leapt at the chance to engage with consumers in an environment where they spend increasing amounts of time and are highly motivated to share their thoughts. eMarketer estimates social network ad spending in the UK will rise from £130 million ($203 million) this year to £275 million ($430 million) by 2012, an increase of more than 110% in two years. This will boost social network ad spending from 3% of all online ad spending to 6% over the same time period.
How many users does Twitter really have?
Last week, Twitter announced that it added 100 million new accounts so far in 2010. That’s a staggering number when you consider that six weeks ago it revealed it had signed up a total of 175 million new accounts since its launch and was adding new ones at a rate that would bring it to 200 million by the end of 2010. Translation: 50% of Twitter’s accounts were added this year.
On the flip side, the Pew Internet & American Life Project just reported that only 8% of US adult internet users used Twitter in 2010. According to eMarketer’s estimates, there were 178.6 million adult internet users in the US in 2010, so Pew’s figure translates to 14.3 million users. This number is lower than eMarketer’s April 2010 estimate of Twitter users, which will be updated in early 2011.
To be clear, Pew asked survey participants if they actually used Twitter, not merely whether or not they had an account. This is very different from Twitter reporting its total number of new or existing accounts.
Twitter’s ad formats mature and grow
Twitter advertising is attracting more interest from marketers.
In November, the TWTRCON conference and oneforty, an online directory for Twitter tools, surveyed 110 business professionals, mostly from marketing and communications, about their interaction with Twitter’s Promoted Products suite.
Overall, the respondents were interested in using Twitter ads as a part of their marketing mix, with 51% of respondents somewhat or very interested in Promoted Products. However, 27% hadn’t made up their minds and 22% said they had no interest at all.