Recently, we helped one of the world’s largest consumer packaged goods companies identify the most influential and connected Twitter users within their customer list for word-of-mouth marketing. Since part of our analysis involved studying how profiles of their customers on Twitter changed between late March and mid-June of this year, we thought it would be interesting to study the effect of Twitter’s 60% growth during that time on these influencers. So, we analyzed follower and following counts for the company’s top 0.1%, top 1% and top 10% most-followed Twitter users, and compared how these figures changed in nine short weeks.
For this study, we analyzed over 40,000 “active” Twitter users, which were defined as users with at least five followers, five friends, or five updates.
Summary of Findings
- The most followed users gained followers at a faster rate than less popular users, contributing to a growing “popularity gap”
- Users in the top 0.1% have around 5x as many followers as users in the top 1% and about 40x as many followers as users in the top 10%
Now for the details:
Follower Growth for Most Popular Users
While these exact figures are specific to the company’s customer list, the relative magnitude of the changes themselves offer perspective on the effect of Twitter’s growth.
- The average number of followers for the top 0.1% nearly quadrupled between March and June; for the top 1% and top 10%, this figure more than doubled
- The median number of followers, which discounts the outliers captured in averages, grew by over 59% for all groups and increased the most for the top 0.1%
- The average followers/following ratio increased the most for the top 0.1% and the least for the top 10%
- The median followers/following ratio experienced the last amount of change and approaches a value of 1.0 as popularity increases
Comparing the Popularity of the Top 0.1%, Top 1%, and Top 10%
The following table summarizes the magnitudes of difference between the popularity of the top 0.1%, the top 1%, and the top 10% during the month of June.
- Users in the top 0.1% have roughly 40 times as many followers as users in the top 10%
- A user just barely in the top 10% needs 11.4 times more followers to break into the top 1%, and nearly 55 times as many followers to enter the top 0.1%
- Biggest difference is the followers/following ratio between the top 0.1% and top 10%, with the top 0.1% having 56.5 times as many followers per following
Twitter’s growth over the past few months resulted in the most popular users getting even more popular, with the most-followed users experiencing the largest gains in follower count. The disparity between the three groups is most pronounced in the average follower count and the average follower/following ratio, which nearly quadrupled for the top 0.1%, more than tripled for the top 1%, and only doubled for the top 10%. It would be interesting to see how these figures change over the next few months as Twitter continues to expand.
(Check out TechCrunch's post on this study)