With approximately 974 million accounts, Twitter is one of the most popular services in the world. But a surprisingly large number of those accounts have failed to participate in the service’s core activity. According to a recent report from tracking firm Twopcharts, 44 percent of all current Twitter accounts have never sent a single tweet.
Twopcharts’ numbers may be deceiving – after all, many fake “spam” Twitter accounts tweet constantly, while “real” users can obviously benefit from the service as a passive observer of others’ tweets – but they correlate with Twitter’s own numbers to demonstrate that a large number of the company’s vast user base fails to engage with the service regularly.
For example, Twitter reports that it measured 241 million active users during the last three months of 2013. Even with a broad definition of “active” (a user who logs in at least once per month), that’s only about 25 percent of the company’s overall account total.
While passive or occasional Twitter users are still an important part of the service, the low rate of active engagement isn’t good news for the company, which has struggled this year after initially posting strong performance following its IPO last November. Active users aren’t only more likely to continue using the service in the future, their tweets and retweets are crucial to driving ad revenue for the company.
Twitter declined to officially respond to Twopcharts’ data, but the company has taken visible steps recently to encourage more active engagement from its users. Twitter last year changed tweet formatting to make attached images appear inline with a user’s feed, and it followed up this year by rolling out pop-up notifications in its Web interface along with a whole new Facebook-like profile layout.
The latter two changes are too new to have a measurable effect on usage, but the company undoubtedly hopes that they will give new and existing users alike a reason to check the service out again, and preferable stick around with more than a tweet or two this time.