44 Comments

Summary:

A comparison of demographic data about Facebook’s users vs. Twitter’s users shows that there are a lot of similarities between the two platforms, but also some key differences in how people use the two networks — including how often they visit and update their status.

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How does Twitter stack up against Facebook when it comes to demographics and online activity? Digital Surgeons, an online marketing agency, has put together an infographic comparing the Facebook population to the Twitter population, and it shows that while the two are similar in many respects in terms of age, income and so on, there are also some crucial differences of interest to marketers and others looking to mine the data and pick a favorite platform. Among the biggest differences are that Twitter users seem to be more active, but less interested in following brands.

Here are a few of the key findings represented in the infographic, which was based on data from a Barracuda Networks survey as well as an analysis from Razorfish and other demographic breakdowns from a number of sources (although the data on Twitter in particular is a little old — the service now has 190 million users).

  • 88 percent of people are aware of Facebook, while 87 percent are aware of Twitter
  • 12 percent of Facebook users update their status every day vs. 52 percent for Twitter
  • males make up 46 percent of Facebook users, and 48 percent of Twitter
  • 30 percent access Facebook via mobile vs. 37 percent for Twitter
  • 40 percent follow a brand on Facebook vs. 25 percent on Twitter
  • 70 percent of Facebook users are outside the U.S. vs. 60 percent for Twitter

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  1. Very interesting. I have to admit that the virtually identical level of awareness is somewhat of a surprise to me…

    1. Yes, I agree — that surprised me as well.

      1. Very surprising. I wonder if the stats would change dramatically when we follow other usage patterns. some of them could be
        1. Number of followers/following. I expect Twitter power users would have more than FB
        2. Status updates relating to professional v/s personal
        3. Use of DM

  2. Very interesting. But “87 percent are aware of Twitter” is shocking. I’m pretty sure there are more than 13% (at least in Germany) which doesn’t know what Twitter is.

  3. It appears that older people and women use Twitter over Facebook. Why is that?

  4. In my personal opinion I prefer using Twitter than Facebook. In the future more people will come to know about Twitter.

  5. Info graphic’s myopic focus on head count is only of interest to would be IPO investors and spammy advertisers. Missing the most important info…

    a) Twitter serves an entire ecosystem of third party clients b)mass integration with myriad apps, services, cross pollinates with other APIs <— Neither of those show up in the ,methods used to create the info graphic.

    Facebook "blackhole" sucks in data, let's nothing out, doesn't have third party eco system, stomps on any attempt to make data useful in new ways.

    1. I agree that the infographic doesn’t really seem to capture the whole Twitter ecosystem of apps, services, API etc. Todd. Thanks for the comment.

      1. It doesn’t ‘capture’ the Facebook ecosystem of apps, services, APIs etc. either, so not really sure what your point is here. It’s an infographic about supposed user statistics, not about third party activity.

    2. Edwin Khodabakchian Todd Monday, December 20, 2010

      As a third party developer, I actually think that Facebook has a much deeper vision and understanding of what a platform is. Twitter on the other hand does not have a great track record on the API front: they started strong but then failed when they took a turn and started to focus on monetization. Facebook on the other hand acquired friendfeed and has been doing a phenomenal job around the open graph API and facebook connect.

      1. Great point — thanks, Edwin.

  6. Matthew, I drew similar conclusions. The mobile numbers stood out to me, in particular. I thought they were much higher. Here’s my take on it: http://bit.ly/gX4Utl @bradmays

    1. Good point, Brad. Thanks.

  7. how can it be that only 27% of Twitter users log-in daily yet 52% update daily. One of those figures is clearly out of whack.

    1. I agree. Perhaps it should be 52 per cent “of those who log in every day.”

    2. I think it may have something to do with measuring Twitter.com logins vs. status updates via mobile apps etc., but I haven’t found the source of that particular stat.

    3. I predict they are both too high.

    4. The 52% of Twitter users that update daily seemed off to me as well. I wonder if that number is skewed by bot accounts, which is a problem that plagues Twitter, IMHO.

  8. 57% of users are within the 26-44 yr old demographics for Twitter, while only 41% to Facebook. Young set of users for Facebook and thus, the FB ads should skew their messaging to this demographic. Am not sure if this is what is happening with FB ads.

  9. Edwin Khodabakchian Monday, December 20, 2010

    Awesome infographic. Do they have proof that 52% of all twitter users update their status everyday. I have a very hard time buying into that number – even if it includes all the spam accounts.

    1. I also doubt that stat, which makes me doubt the whole thing.

  10. The 52% figure is probably off by a factor of 10. Perhaps 5% update their status daily. Even the source linked to the article says only 21% of Twitter users are “active” — meaning they’ve tweeted more than 10 times.

    1. I agree – that seems much more likely.

      Also, there’s a difference between the number of users who each post every single day (without fail), and the number of users that will post on a given day.

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