eMarketer reports that 9% of the adult (18+) US Internet population currently uses Twitter at least once a month.
Their new forecast substantially lowers the Twitter use forecast they made last April. Key quote from their press release:
“Twitter has continued to gain traction but at more moderate levels than we had expected,” Verna said. “Our updated figures put Twitter usage in a clearer perspective than published data showing hundreds of millions of Twitter accounts, or site traffic stats that include visitors who browse public tweets on Twitter.com but don’t actually use the microblogging service.”
In other words, the hype around Twitter exceeded the reality.
Don't get me wrong. 9% of online users is over 16 million people. That's a lot of people and Twitter is a great marketing tool if your customer base is using it. It's also valuable for other tasks. For example, we use Twitter almost every day for information discovery.
But it also means 91% of adult online users aren't using Twitter, so a lot of small businesses won't find their customers or prospects there.
Our advice to small businesses on Twitter continues to be the same it's been since Twitter was launched: learn about and experiment with Twitter, test it for a mix of business purposes, measure your results, and use it if you're getting a strong ROI relative to other uses of your time and money.
Don't use it just because of the hype.