Twitter use in the UK explodes by ten times says Hitwise

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UK Internet traffic to Twitter has increased 10-fold over past last 12 months, according to Hitwise. For the week ending 17/01/09 Twitter ranked as the 291st most visited website in the UK, up from a ranking of 2,953 for the week ending 19/01/08. UK Internet traffic to the website has increased by a staggering 974% over this period. Hitwise also admits that Twitter is probably even more popular than its numbers imply, as Hitwise is only measuring traffic to the main Twitter website, not access via mobile (it’s big on the iPhone, I can tell you) or third party applications like Twitterrific and Tweetdeck.

Plus, the average amount of time that people spend on Twitter has more than trebled from less than 10 minutes a year ago to half an hour now. Make that about 2 hours for me.

Twitter’s penetration per head is even deeper in the UK than in the US. It ranked as the 291st most visited website in the UK, while in the USA it ranked 350th. It’s big amongst the young, but the fastest growing age group of users is 35-44 year olds, who now account for 17.3% of UK visitors.

Famous Twitterers are boosting the site. Stephen Fry, has over 50,000 followers, John Cleese can claim more than 30,000, and 2,000 people are following Andy Murray’s progress at the Australian Open. Jonathan Ross (13,000+ followers) is spreading the Twitter religion by verifying if his celeb pals are on it. He calls himself the “Number One Twitter Detective”.

The amount of traffic it sends to other websites has increased 30-fold over the last 12 months. Almost 10% goes to News and Media websites, 17.6% to entertainment websites, 14.6% to social networks, 6.6% to blogs and 4.5% to online retailers.

Facebook remains Britain’s most popular social network and is now the second most visited website in the UK after Google UK.

  • http://girlwithaonetrackmind.blogspot.com Girl with a one track mind

    And if Jonathan Ross plugs Twitter on his BBC1 show tomorrow night (viewing figures 8-11m), I would expect another massive rise in Brits signing onto the Twitter wagon…

  • http://www.goodbaad.com Joel Hughes

    Twitter has been hugely successful but still hasn’t crossed over into the mainstream – it feels like it is just hitting that level of awareness that will cause another explosion this time in wider population (outside the tech/media community). I just wonder whether or not they could handle the extra traffic and how they’ll afford the server costs. But feeds like http://www.twitter.com/worldometer have potential be a part of nearly everyone’s lives.

    • Jim

      we are seeing this rapid adoption by ecademy members do you or HW have any figures on the growth of the superb Friendfeed and SocialMedian?

      http://kisalt.net/d2

  • Graeme Shaw

    Worth nothing that Philip Schofield http://twitter.com/schofe plugged twitter on This Morning yesterday. Not the same sort of numbers as Jonathan Ross, but as mainstream as you can get.

  • http://www.marcus-povey.co.uk Marcus Povey

    With any luck a phone company will spot this and sponsor UK sms.

    • http://girlwithaonetrackmind.blogspot.com Girl with a one track mind

      That would be brilliant – and about time, too. I doubt it will happen – unless the mobile phone operators decide, in six months’ time when they finally jump on the bandwagon, to add an additional, paid-for, “unlimited Twitter” SMS service – but I remain hopeful.

  • http://www.ecademy.com Thomas Power

    we are seeing this rapid adoption by ecademy members do you or HW have any figures on the growth of the superb Friendfeed and SocialMedian?

  • http://tamlyn.org Tamlyn

    It’s reached that level of awareness Facebook had two years ago: nearly everyone has heard of it but few have checked it out and nobody really understands what it does or why they would want it.

  • http://www.wecando.biz Ian Hendry

    Just to clarify, the Hitwise figures are for Twitter website hits only, not people using Twitter through mobile or desktop apps like TwitterDeck, right?

    Given that probably 80% of regular Twitter users make use of such apps, the figures are likely much higher.

    Ian Hendry
    CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
    http://www.wecando.biz
    @wecandobiz

    • Loopy

      Ian,

      It comes across as crass advertising. I wish you well but use more creative techniques to get your company up there.

      As far as twitter is concerned – so what. Micro-blogging needs a business model, and twitter needs to ensure they are in the value chain, cannot be removed and they get revenue.

      • http://www.wecando.biz Ian Hendry

        I doff my cap to the person who posts anonymously. I put in a signature so people know who I am and can quantify my qualifications for passing comment. Perhaps you would be kind enough to do the same.

        Ian Hendry
        CEO, WeCanDo.BIZ
        http://www.wecando.biz

      • Some

        @Ian Hendry

        If you were so concerned about quantification and quality of comments, then you would have read the article before commenting. From the article:

        Hitwise also admits that Twitter is probably even more popular than its numbers imply, as Hitwise is only measuring traffic to the main Twitter website, not access via mobile (it’s big on the iPhone, I can tell you) or third party applications like Twitterrific and Tweetdeck.

    • http://www.wecando.biz Ian Hendry

      @ Some (perhaps Loopy back again)

      I did read it. I referred to it. And added that 80% of Twitter users use those methods to access it. My attempt to quantify how much the Hitwise figures may be out.

      My attempt to offer something to the discussion.

      Ian Hendry

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  • http://www.twitter.com/SolvingProblems Solving Problems

    And for the heuristically minded, there’s the up and coming Solving Problems at http://www.twitter.com/SolvingProblems. Maybe Obama will check in for advice from time to time?

  • http://www.shanghaitwitterville.com Damian Holmes

    Is the sharp increase due to maybe Twestival? It first occurred in September 2008 in London.

    http://www.twestival.com

    Next world wide twestival is February 12

  • http://poprl.com Sam Bensalem

    twitter is like the matrix. “no one can be told what twitter is, you have to see it for yourself”!!

    • http://boofly.com James Lawson-Smith

      That is very true. It is a hard one the explain to people that have not seen it for themselves.

  • http://britalian.com Britalian

    Schofield caused a big spike with his mention of Twitter on TV on Tuesday. On This Week In Tech, despite its ever-decreasing quality (Dvorak is the only person who makes it interesting), they have long said that Twitter needs celebs on board to give its numbers a boost (if that is what Twitter actually wants).

    @Thomas Power, nice appearance on TV last night!

  • ggw

    techcrunch has become twitcrunch of late

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    […] Twitter use in the UK explodes by ten times says Hitwise […]

  • http://www.barcelonaphotoblog.com Carlos Lorenzo

    If somebody told me without the comparison to the previous week that Twitter was 291st in the UK I would say “ridiculous” as I thought Twitter would occupy better ranking all over the world (just 350th in the US!?). These stats really help getting an idea and place Twitter in the correct scenario. Anyway an increment of 974% in a year makes me feel dizzy. Now, watching all these figures and knowing that Facebook takes the second place after Google tells you who’s going to be in charge in 2009. It wouldn’t be so strange to see Twitter as part of Facebook this year. By the way I wonder what the stats say about other European countries like Germany, or Spain now. By the way, according to another article at Hitwise Twitter catches up to Digg!

  • http://www.thecharityplace.co.uk Rachel Beer

    Looks like Richard and Judy are about to be next: http://twitter.com/caitlinmoran/status/1136277049

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  • http://boofly.com James Lawson-Smith

    I am originally from the UK and am glad to see fellow UK Tweeps finding this great site.

    Currently I am living in Ireland and find it a great way to keep in touch with not only England but the world.

    Maybe Ireland will get an SMS Twitter gateway soon.

    Tweet me at http://twitter.com/JamesLS

  • http://www.prblogger.com Stephen Davies

    The UK as a nation has been used to 140 characters for years. I think the transition to Twitter from text messaging will come natural for us.

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  • http://www.mydochub.com Lisa

    I love twitter!! It is better suited for professionals in vertical industries, unlike Facebook which is more for personal relationships. http://www.twitter.com/mydochub

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