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August 23, 2009

Some informal Twitter statistics from five arts organizations

We estimate roughly 10% of your arts audience is playing around with Twitter.

We estimate roughly 10% of your arts audience is playing around with Twitter.

By now, you know about Twitter. You can’t avoid it — the mainstream media has picked up the love affair and is spreading the Twitter love far and wide. I recently did a bit of analysis on the Twitter account saturation in the email subscribers a few of our clients, and the results were intriguing.

I scanned the email address databases of five of my arts clients, looking for people who were in their email database, who also had a Twitter account. The five arts organizations were a variety of genres and budget sizes from small to large, so it was interesting to see the same statistics across the board.

Twitter statistics

  • 10% of the email subscribers had a Twitter account associated with their email address.
  • Roughly 1/2 of those patrons with Twitter accounts had not uploaded a picture to use as their Twitter avatar.

I interpret the latter to mean that those people who have not uploaded a picture are still in the “sampling Twitter” phase — just logging in and “lurking” around trying to figure it all out. That’s actually good — we want our audiences to be playing with the new tools. But I don’t count these folks as being “power players” yet, as they probably won’t be following a lot of people or participating to any great degree until they decide if they want to fully get on the bus, which I measure by the action of them uploading an image of themselves. That action is sort of “staking a claim” on your own little corner of Twitter, and letting everybody know you’re ready to play.

Twitter use by all arts organizations?

So, if you’re ok with making the jump to roughly apply the above data to all arts organizations, Twitter campaigns currently reach about 5% of your existing audiences who are active Twitter users. That’s pretty low currently, but it’s growing rapidly, and you should participate and continue to help it grow, as more and more focus is moving towards up-to-the-minute feedback and reviews after a performance for example.  Also, the ability to acquire new Twitter followers through friends of current followers IS a powerful reason to keep using Twitter, along with the generally younger audience base that comes with Twitter. But it is important to remember that “recently new” communication tools like email marketing are still the workhorses of arts marketing, reaching a much higher percentage of your arts patrons, so you definitely don’t want to slack on the “tried and true.”

I’m sure the above stats are changing as time marches on. Those 5% that are just experimenting right now may jump on board, and new folks will take their place experimenting. In a year, I expect more than 10% of arts audiences to be “actively” using Twitter (with their image uploaded) and a new 10% will be in the experimentation stage. We’re planning to repeat the same experiment in a year with these five clients, to see how the numbers changed. If you have any stats of your own on Twitter saturation in your arts audiences, please leave a comment and let us know. Also, groupofminds is on Twitter, so if you’re not currently a follower and would like to see more of the in-the-moment posts, please follow us.


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