Eyes are on the Facebook IPO and how it may change the way investors view social media; but in the shadow of Facebook’s big $5 billion IPO filing news is the 6-year old Twitter, moving past its awkward revenue stage and working its way around the globe.
According to a new report from social media research company Semiocast, out of 383 million Twitter profiles created before this new year’s beginning, 72% of all user profiles are outside of the US. The United States still has the largest number of users, with 107.7 million total accounts, and 5.6 million new accounts in December 2011 alone. Japan has been pushed down to rank three for Twitter accounts with 29.9 million, and the UK rests at rank number 4 with 23.8 million user profiles. Japanese is still the most tweeted language on Twitter next to English.
Interestingly, following Facebook’s international direction, Twitter seems to be doing well in the country of Brazil, with a total of 33.3 million user accounts. According to a recent ComScore study, Brazil has shown a 40% growth in Twitter users for December 2011 when compared to last years numbers.
The Semiocast study also highlights the top tweeting countries. Netherlands is the most active with 33% of accounts posting at least one message in 2011; Japan follows with 30%, with Spain at 29% and the US, Indonesia, Venezuela and Canad at 28%. The global average for those accounts that did something at all–from a change in Avatar to following another account–is 48%.
Change and growth into overseas markets has analysis from the eMarketer firm predicting Twitter’s advertising revenue to triple by the end of 2014: from $139 million to $540 million. Of course, half a billion dollars in three years doesn’t seem quite so much when compared to Facebook’s $3 billion in reported advertising revenue for the year of 2011 (that’s also ignoring the 12% that Zynga and other fees make up).
Still, while Twitter’s total accounts equal more than a third of Facebook’s 800 million active users and pull less than a fraction of Facebook’s revenue, the micro-blogging company is being regarded as valid competition. Facebook said in its S-1 filing on Wednesday,“We face significant competition in almost every aspect of our business, including from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Twitter, which offer a variety of Internet products, services, content and online advertising.”
Twitter revenue is growing to match its hype. Research firm eMarketer points out that the US currently makes up 90% of Twitter’s revenue, with $26 million in total coming in from other countries. However, in three years, the US percentage of revenue is expected to drop to 83% as Twitter follows Facebook in the campaign to connect the entire world. For comfortable Tweeters, growth means change, which can be controversial as we’ve seen with the promoted tweets announced in July of last year–which some believed would ‘ruin Twitter’. Then there’s the more current topic of Twitter’s country-specific censorship framework that analysts believe is related to Twitter’s plan to move into overseas markets. The censorship buzz prompted many users to plan a boycott against the policy on January 28. What are your thoughts on Twitter’s trajectory? Will it make it up there with Facebook, Google and Microsoft? And, do you like where Twitter is heading?
Image via The Verge