Non-Official Twitter Clients Still Widely Used

By Mark Evans - Tuesday, March 15th, 2011 at 9:05 am  

In unveiling changes to its API rules last week, Twitter’s Ryan Sarver claimed that according to the company’s data “90% of active Twitters users use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis.” Twitter defines “official” as applications it owns and operates for the Mac, iPad, Android and Windows Phone.

It was an assertion that captured our attention because previous studies by Sysomos suggested there were significantly more “non-official” users. In a June 2009 report, for example, we found TweetDeck had nearly 20% of the client market.

To determine usage of different Twitter clients, we reviewed a sample of 25 million tweets on March 11 – the day Twitter unveiled its new API policy. The data shows that 42% of tweets were made by non-officials apps – more than four times the amount claimed by Twitter.

Twitter Client Usage Statistics

Among the non-official group, the most popular apps were TweetDeck, UberSocial and Echofone, which are owned by Bill Gross’ UberMedia. Tweetdeck accounted for 5.5% of total tweets, compared with 19.9% in our June 2009 report.

UberMedia has emerged as rival to Twitter after building a large portfolio of Twitter-related services through acquisitions. Last month, Twitter suspended two of UberMedia’s services – UberTwitter and twitroyd – for “policy violations”.

So what’s disconnect between Twitter’s 90% claim, and our data analysis that shows Twitter only has 58% market share?

Here’s how the gap can be explained. Twitter’s number focus on the total number of user’s while our analysis looked at total tweets. It means there may be many Twitter “official” users who are not very active.

On the other hand, more enthusiastic and power users are using non-official services such as TweetDeck, UberSocial and Seesmic. This is not much of a surprise given many of these applications have many more features than Twitter.com despite recent improvements.

Twitter’s Sarver notes that consistent of user experience is very important to them, and they don’t want third-party apps to mimic the native apps. Sarver also points out that “this is happening organically – the number and market share of consumer client apps that are not owned or operated by Twitter has been shrinking”. Our June 2009 study showed that 55% tweets were made using non-offical apps, and the number now stands at 42%. With Twitter’s introduction of official mobile apps, acquisition of Tweetie, and redesign of Twitter.com, the market share of official apps is indeed growing, albeit slowly. What do you think, will official apps completely replace other client apps in future?

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90 Responses to “Non-Official Twitter Clients Still Widely Used”

  1. Jeff Clark says:

    Hi Mark. There’s another explanation for the gap if you look closely at what Twitter claimed. Their statement “90% of active Twitters users use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis.” says only that 90% use official Twitter apps – it doesn’t say they use them for most of their interaction with Twitter. For example, I use Tweetdeck to read and send virtually all my tweets but occasionally will use the twitter web site. Every month I’m sure to use an ‘official client’ at least once but still I’m mostly using a third-party tool. I suspect many other people have similar use patterns.

  2. Julia Vyse says:

    Not to mention that basic functionality such as tweeting from multiple accounts isn’t supported by the main Twitter dashboard.

  3. [...] apps on a monthly basis to access the service. Social media analytics company Sysomos decided to track Tweets on the day that Twitter made this announcement to determine if there was any truth to this [...]

  4. [...] assertion caught the attention of Sysomos, as Twitter's data seemed inconsistent with some of the analysis that the social media analytics [...]

  5. [...] assertion caught the attention of Sysomos, as Twitter’s data seemed inconsistent with some of the analysis that the social media [...]

  6. [...] assertion caught the attention of Sysomos, as Twitter's data seemed inconsistent with some of the analysis that the social media analytics [...]

  7. [...] access th&#1077 service. Social media analytics company Sysomos d&#1077&#1089&#1110d&#1077d t&#959 track Tweets &#959n th&#1077 day th&#1072t Twitter m&#1072d&#1077 th&#1110&#1109 announcement t&#959 determine &#1110f [...]

  8. [...] million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds.The most popular third-party apps were TweetDeck, accounting for 5.5% of all tweets and 13.1% of [...]

  9. Kelly Rusk says:

    Further to Jeff’s point, one user could be using multiple apps for different devices.

    i.e. I avidly use Tweetdeck on my PC (non-official) but only user Twitter for iPhone (official) on my phone.

    So technically I’m in the 90%, even though the majority of my tweets are probably sent through Tweetdeck.

  10. [...] Sysomos hat die Twitternutzung untersucht und kommt zu einem Ergebnis, das ein etwas anderes Bild von Twitter zeichnet als die offiziellen Angaben: [...]

  11. [...] apps on a monthly basis to access the service. Social media analytics company Sysomos decided to track Tweets on the day that Twitter made this announcement to determine if there was any truth to this [...]

  12. [...] assertion caught the attention of Sysomos, as Twitter’s data seemed inconsistent with some of the analysis that the social media [...]

  13. I think it’s smart that Twitter is pushing devs to iterate on their platform. Their ecosystem’s sustenance will be based on devs abilities to make the platform more and more useful, as is the case with apps like Foursquare and HootSuite. If you’re interested, Paul Gillin and I will be discussing this today in episode 5 of the B2B Social Media Podcast at http://www.ontherecordpodcast.com, which we’re recording today.

  14. [...] apps on a monthly basis to access the service. Social media analytics company Sysomos decided to track Tweets on the day that Twitter made this announcement to determine if there was any truth to this assertion. Sysomos [...]

  15. [...] ahora surge una duda, ya que la empresa Sysomos acaba de terminar un estudio en donde encontraron que solo el 58% de los usuarios activos utilizaban aplicaciones oficiales de [...]

  16. [...] service. Social media analytics company Sysomos decided to track Tweets on the day that Twitter made this announcement [...]

  17. [...] apps on a monthly basis to access the service. Social media analytics company Sysomos decided to track Tweets on the day that Twitter made this announcement to determine if there was any truth to this [...]

  18. [...] While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds. [...]

  19. [...] that Twitter owns and operates. This data seems to clash with findings in previous studies by Sysomos, that there were significantly more Twitter users using “non-official” sites and apps. [...]

  20. [...] The saga over Twitters’s new hardline stance against developers just got more interesting. While Twitter officials downplay the company’s crusade against new third-party Twitter clients, with claims that 90 percent of active Twitter members use official Twitter apps on a monthly basis, fresh analysis suggests that third-party Twitter apps account for much more traffic: 42 percent, according Sysomos, a social media analytics company. [...]

  21. It would be interesting to do a breakdown of “clients” by separating actual end-user reading clients from things that post automatically such as Twitterfeed, etc.

  22. [...] While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds. [...]

  23. [...] While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds. [...]

  24. michael says:

    Twitter: Great API; crappy website. Tweetdeck has so many users because it already does what Twitter SHOULD do.

  25. [...] While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds. [...]

  26. [...] apps on a monthly basis to access the service. Social media analytics company Sysomos decided to track Tweets on the day that Twitter made this announcement to determine if there was any truth to this [...]

  27. [...] While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds. [...]

  28. [...] the full Sysomos blog post here. Tags: Third-party clients , Twitter , Update SHARE: Delicious Digg StumbleUpon Reddit [...]

  29. You mention Seesmic but it’s not shown on the non-official apps pie. Is it part of the 27.4%. If so, what part. Can you break it out? I was pretty surprised that non of Seesmic’s clients apparently have more than a 1.6% share.

  30. [...] Third-party Twitter clients such as UberSocial, TweetDeck and Echofon generated 42 percent of a large sample of the service’s tweets on a recent day, according to the social media business intelligence firm Sysomos. [...]

  31. [...] ampia, ma devi sapere che sono emersi numeri molto interessanti dall’analisi condotta da Sysomos (anche fonte immagini) su 25 milioni di [...]

  32. [...] | Sysomos blog En Genbeta | Twitter pide a los desarrolladores que paren de crear nuevas [...]

  33. [...] そんなタイミングではありますが、twitterクライアントの非公式、公式の割合を調べた情報があったのでご紹介します。 Non-Official Twitter Clients Still Widely Used(非公式クライアントはまだまだ使用さ… [...]

  34. [...] Dos 25 milhões de tweets amostra desde Twitter abriu sua API, em 11 de março, 42% vieram de aplicativos não oficiais, segundo a Sysomos: [...]

  35. [...] El estudio de Sysomos muestra una realidad distinta a la que comunica Ryan Sarver (quien hace las aplicaciones oficiales). Sysomos informa que el 42% de los tweets se generan desde aplicaciones no oficiales, muy distinto al 90% que informa Sarver se generan desde la aplicación oficial. [...]

  36. [...] While that 90% figure might very well be true, it doesn’t accurately reflect the popularity of third-party Twitter clients. Of the 25 million tweets sampled since Twitter released its API on March 11, 42% came from non-official apps, Sysomos finds. [...]

  37. [...] je ale možná poněkud jinak. Sysomos upozorňuje, že Non-Official Twitter Clients Still Widely Used. Analýzou 25 milionů tweetů z 11.března 2011 došli k tomu, že 42% pochází z neoficiální [...]

  38. Comes down to what you’re trying to achieve with twitter. The “official” twitter apps are great for simple usage but if you’re serious about surfing the status highway and interacting with the crowd independent of device and location and you need to manage your game then you need serious tools.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t see more “Other Apps” sending tweets as blogs and other social media increase the distribution of content through channels like twitter and its API.

  39. [...] el timeline un rato. Y justamente, eso hizo la compañía de estadísticas Sysomos, la cual indicó que sólo se trata del 58%.Para ello, se analizaron 25 millones de tweets publicados durante el 11 [...]

  40. [...] 先週報じられたように、Twitterはそのエコシステムに関して重要な変更を行い、サードパーティのデベロッパは今後、ネイティブクライアントでTwitterと競合してはならない、とした。これからのデベロッパは、ツイートに関するデータや特定の市場/業界に関する情報に目を向けるべきである、と。デベロッパ宛に送ったメールの中でTwitterは、Twitterのアクティブユーザのおよそ90%が毎月、公式のTwitterアプリケーションを使ってサービスにアクセスしている、と述べた。そこで、ソーシャルメディアを分析しているSysomosは、本当にTwitterの言うとおり今や公式アプリの天下なのか、Twitterがこの発表を行った日のツイートを調べてみようと思い立った。 [...]

  41. [...] apps on a monthly basis to access the service. Social media analytics company Sysomos decided to track Tweets on the day that Twitter made this announcement to determine if there was any truth to this assertion. Sysomos [...]

  42. Eric Perlberg says:

    Ultimately there has to be a business model for Twitter. The devs who are being hit by the new arrangement are the ones making twitter clients, not companies like Sysomos and its competition who are still allowed to build part of their business model on Twitter APIs. It’s pretty obvious that Twitter (the company) has decided to monitise through advertising through their Twitter clients and they couldn’t do this (or felt they couldn’t) with a raft of competing clients diluting the number of potential eyeballs for Twitter the company. Never mind all the mumbo-jumbo about usability, this is about the control of advertising.

    Unless some good hearted and deep pocketed soul comes along and funds Twitter in perpetuity something had to give. I prefer my 3rd party twitter app but how else are Twitter to keep paying the bills?

  43. [...] quelle che possiamo visualizzare quest’oggi, rimarranno stabili ?Per approfondimento: Non-Official Twitter Clients Still Widely Used ArticoliSimiliTwitter Onnivoro: Short URL e TweetieCosa succede Twitter ? Il popolare servizio di [...]

  44. [...] Clients Remain More Popular Than Twitter AdmitsShareTweetPosted on 16 March 2011A new study from Sysomos reveals that 42% of tweets are being made by non-officials applications. What’s more [...]

  45. [...] In response to last week’s assertion from an official Twitter rep that 90% of users use an official Twitter app on a monthly basis, Sysomos did a little statistical digging. [...]

  46. [...] new study from Sysomos reveals that 42% of tweets are being made by non-officials applications. What’s more [...]

  47. [...] el timeline un rato. Y justamente, eso hizo la compañía de estadísticas Sysomos, la cual indicó que sólo se trata del [...]