Twitter is a real-time microblogging platform, publicly launched in July 2006. At launch, its defining features were the tight limits placed on each post, known at a tweet. Originally, users could only use 140 characters, although that was doubled to 280 in 2017.
Formed by former Odeo employees Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Evan Williams and Biz Stone, the site originally used SMS to send tweets onto the network. It received its first boost of users at SXSW 2007, when the founders showed all the tweets hitting the network in real-time.
From there, Twitter grew out its userbase to reach over 300 million monthly active users. It added new features, but for the most part has retained the same look and feel of early Twitter, much to the chagrin of shareholders who have wanted Twitter to be more competitive with Facebook.
Twitter has branched out into other areas of innovation, such as short-video with Vine or live-video with Periscope, but both were cancelled by Twitter. Some have argued that Twitter mismanaged both projects, as Vine came well before Music.ly and TikTok, but was unable to capture the market which was clearly there.
This may be partly due to the management of Twitter, which has had Jack Dorsey, Evan Williams, Dick Costolo and then Jack Dorsey again as CEO. Dorsey is also CEO at Square, which has led to complaints from shareholders and even a lawsuit.
Twitter is experimenting with new formats for tweets, such as donations and currency for tweets. It recently launched Twitter Spaces, a clone of Clubhouse’s live-audio platform, although Twitter has a poor track record for supporting anything outside the base platform.
That said, Twitter may be in new form after four years of user stagnation. It has added mDAUs at a faster rate this year than the past three and noticed higher year-on-year growth, although this may be partly due to the pandemic.
We have collected data and statistics on Twitter. Read on below to find out more.
Twitter key statistics
- Twitter generated $3.7 billion revenue in 2020, an 8.8 percent increase year-on-year
- 86 percent of Twitter’s revenue came from advertising in 2020
- Twitter posted a net loss of $1.1 billion in 2020, which was the company’s first annual loss since 2017
- Twitter has 186 million daily active users and 38 million users in the United States
|Launch date||21 March 2006|
|HQ||San Francisco, California|
|People||Jack Dorsey (CEO, co-founder), Parag Agrawal (CTO), Evan Williams (ex-CEO, co-founder)|
|Business type||Public (NYSE: TWTR)|
Twitter annual revenue
Twitter revenue by segment
|Year||Advertising||Data licensing & Other|
|2015||$1.9 billion||$0.2 billion|
|2016||$2.2 billion||$0.2 billion|
|2017||$2.1 billion||$0.3 billion|
|2018||$2.6 billion||$0.4 billion|
|2019||$2.9 billion||$0.4 billion|
|2020||$3.2 billion||$0.5 billion|
Twitter revenue by region
|Year||United States||Rest of World|
|2018||$1.6 billion||$1.4 billion|
|2019||$1.9 billion||$1.5 billion|
|2020||$2 billion||$1.6 billion|
Note: Parentheses equals loss
Twitter annual users
Note: Twitter tracks average monetizable daily active users (mDAU), which only includes DAUs it can advertise to. Twitter’s MAUs are reportedly at between 350 and 400 million
Twitter users by region
|Year||United States||Rest of World|
|2017||25 million||85 million|
|2018||26 million||96 million|
|2019||29 million||110 million|
|2020||36 million||150 million|
Source: Hootsuite and We Are Social
Most followed Twitter accounts
Note: As of March 2021
Twitter vs competitors: users
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How many Americans use Twitter as a data source?
12 percent of Americans use it as a data source, according to Pew Research Center
How many brands use Twitter for marketing?
66 percent of brands with over 100 employees use Twitter for marketing purposes (eMarketer)
How much Twitter usage is mobile?
80% of Twitter usage happens on mobile devices (Google)
How many Twitter users in India?
There are 55 million Twitter users in India, according to App Annie
How much do the top 10% of Twitter users contribute?
In the US, top 10 percent of tweeters contribute 92 percent of tweets in 2020, up from 80 percent in 2018 (Pew Research Center)
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