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Apr 26, 2009

Twitter Keeps On Growing Through Asia - Especially in Australia

australia_logo.jpgWe know that Oprah Winfrey's brought a lot of new users to Twitter in the U.S., but according to Hitwise, the popular microblogging service is currently seeing some of its most impressive growth outside of America. In Australia, where Oprah Winfrey doesn't command the same kind of daytime television audience, Twitter grew over 1,000% since the beginning of 2009, and its annual growth since last April tops 3,200%. In Australia, Twitter is now the 37th most visited web site.

Twitter Loves Celebrities

According to Hitwise, 38% of the top 50 searches for 'twitter' in Australia include the name of a celebrity. Lindsay Lohan leads the charge, followed by Ashton Kutcher, Miley Cyrus, and Australia's own Hugh Jackman. While Kutcher's much publicized race to 1 million followers increased Twitter's share of daily visits in Australia by 10.6%, Oprah's first tweet only registered a 2.46% increase

Twitter is also seeing similar growth in other Asia Pacific markets. In New Zealand, the official home of RWW, Twitter's share of daily visits increased 305% in 2009, and it is now the 49th most visited web site there, and its growth rate in Singapore is comparable. Only Hong Kong is lagging far behind these other markets.


Twitter is Sticky

One interesting phenomenon about Twitter is that new users tend to stay on the service. In Australia, according to Hitwise, the single largest spike in visits came one day after the Queensland Election in March, and interestingly, Hitwise did not record a drop in numbers since then. This bodes well for Twitter, which, thanks to the hype around Oprah Winfrey and Ashton Kutcher, was able to pick up a lot of new users who typically wouldn't have been too interested in joining Twitter.

Oprah Effect on Twitter

Oprah Winfrey, the icon that can turn any book or product into a best seller, posted her first Tweet on Friday on her show. There's been muchdebate among loyal Twitter users about whether this spells the end for Twitter's coolness, as soccer moms sign up in droves.

So what was the Oprah-Effect on Twitter? The following chart shows daily visits to Twitter from 1st January to 18th April (Oprah's first Tweet was on the 17th). 
Oprah Twitter.png

Share of US Internet visits to Twitter increased 24% on Friday, April 17, the day of Oprah's first Tweet. Comparing visits with the previous Friday, visits were up 43%.

Hitwise clickstream data reveals that on April 17, 37% of visits to Twitter.com were new visitors (as opposed to returning). The service typically has a high ratio of new visitors as it is still very much in a growth phase. However, the percentage of new visitors was 5% higher on Friday than the previous day and the average for March. To give a benchmark, Facebook's ratio of new visitors was 8% in March.

The search term "oprah twitter" was the #35 highest search term with the word "twitter" last week and the #7 with "oprah". Considering that our search data is weekly and that the show only aired on Friday, this is impressive.

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