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Twitter: a bird in the hand for 5.4m Australians

SMPerth // 21st June 2016

Source: Roy Morgan Research

With Microsoft willing to pay A$35billion for LinkedIn, eyes quickly turned to another social media giant with an ailing share price: Twitter. The A$15billion company has 310 million active monthly users globally (valuing them at just under $50 each) – and as Roy Morgan’s research into local usage shows, this puts Twitter’s Australian audience at over a quarter of a billion dollars.

5.4 million Australians 14+ (28%) used Twitter in an average four weeks in the 12 months to March 2016 – representing around 1.75% of Twitter’s self-reported worldwide monthly audience (only around 1 in 57 users). But as an equivalent share of its listed capitalisation, this appraises Twitter’s Australian market at around A$261million.

Twitter usage in Australia (which perhaps broadly correlates to its global audience) is demographically skewed to the younger, urban, early adopting, well-educated and, slightly, to men:

  • Usage declines with age. Australian 14-24 year-olds are twice as likely to use Twitter in an average month (38%) as those aged 50+ (19%).
  • 30% of men use Twitter, slightly more than the 26% of women.
  • 30% of capital city residents use Twitter, compared with just 23% of people in country areas.

Twitter usage across major demographics:

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, April 2015 – March 2016, sample n = 50,392 Australians 14+. 

  • Greens voters (half of whom are capital city residents under 50) are therefore the most likely voters to use Twitter (35%), ahead of 29% of ALP voters, 23% of Liberal voters and just 16% of National voters.
  • Those with a higher education are more likely to use Twitter: 39% of Australians with a postgraduate degree, compared with 34% of those with an undergraduate degree, 27% of high school graduates and 20% of people with less than a Year 12 certificate.
  • Geographically, Twitter usage is highest in Melbourne (32%), ahead of Sydney (30%) and Perth (30%).

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“Facebook successfully expanded its audience of active users well beyond its original base of early adopters and digital natives. Today, over three in four Australians use Facebook in an average month – even including almost 60% of Technophobes.  But platforms in the next generation of mobile-focused social media, such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, have yet to become truly mainstream.

“The number of active monthly Twitter users in Australia is slightly higher than for rival Instagram. Twitter has a marginally more diversified audience across demographic segments: 53% of its active users are in Generation Y or Z, compared with 79% of Instagram’s.

“Of course, Facebook bought Instagram for a reported US$1 billion back in 2012, so it can effectively afford to maintain a more niche, younger audience on the platform even as its own audience broadens (and ages).

“As social media platform owners attempt to monetise their huge global audiences (and big data) by offering advertisers targeted business-to-consumer communication channels, it will become increasingly necessary to deliver more (and more valuable) types of audiences.

“As we recently reported, part of LinkedIn’s appeal to Microsoft was undoubtedly its audience of wealthier established professionals, who are not just personal consumers but often the decision-makers behind multi-million dollar business expenses.”

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