Twitter’s Web traffic is still on fire. But will that help the company make money?
Last week, Twitter.com accounted for 0.021% of U.S. Web visits, ranking no. 84 in the “Computers and Internet” category — just ahead of Digg, according to Web stats tracker Hitwise.
Twitter got help from the attention it got after last Thursday’s U.S. Airways plane crash. And it could easily rank higher this week because of the attention it got during today’s presidential inauguration.
So Hitwise’s report will provide for nice bragging rights over fellow San Francisco hot-shot startup Digg. But does more Web traffic translate to more money for the famously revenue-free startup?
Not directly. Twitter isn’t ad-supported and selling ads next to tweets doesn’t seem to be in its immediate future.
Rather, most of the potential money-making plans we’ve heard of for Twitter focus on user services, such as premium accounts or verifying celebrity/corporate members. This means Twitter’s user base growth, not Web visitor growth, is the most important metric.
And that’s a different chart: Many (most?) Twitter Web visitors aren’t Twitter users. And many Twitter users aren’t fully accounted for in Hitwise’s Web stats, as they use Twitter on their phones or via desktop apps.
But that’s not to say that Web traffic isn’t good news for Twitter. In fact, it’s great news.
If anything, we’d bet Twitter is still new/obscure enough that their Web traffic and user-signup charts have similar curves. The more people learn about Twitter for the first time — or keep visiting the Web site — the more inclined they are to find Twitter neat or useful, sign up for it, and use it. And perhaps someday pay for premium services.
So keep the Web hits coming.
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