Survey: 0% of Internet Users Would Pay for Twitter

Kipp Bodnar
Kipp Bodnar




A recent study shows that Americans are not willing to pay for online services such as Twitter. The study was conducted by the University of Southern California at the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism.

From the research :

"Although nearly half of those polled in a new USC survey said they have used free micro-blogging sites like Twitter, 0% said that they would be willing to pay for such a service. "Such an extreme finding that produced a zero response underscores the difficulty of getting Internet users to pay for anything that they already receive for free," said Jeffrey Cole, director of the Center for Digital Future at USC's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

"Twitter has no plans to charge its users, but this result illustrates, beyond any doubt, the tremendous problem of transforming free users into paying users." The survey of 1,981 Internet users also found that half "never" click on web advertising, with 70% saying they find it "annoying." However, 55% said they would rather see web advertising than pay for content."

The USC survey also examined how United States residents accessed and used the Internet. Major usage findings include:

  • Percentage of U.S. on the Internet -- For the first time, the Internet is used by more than 80 percent of Americans -- now 82 percent.  
  • Weekly hours online -- The average time online has now reached 19 hours per week.  Although more than two-thirds of Americans have gone online for a decade, the largest year-to-year increases in weekly online use has been reported in the two most recent Digital Future studies.

  • Gaps in Internet use in age groups -- Not surprisingly, Internet use continues to increase as age decreases, with 100 percent of those under age 24 going online.  However, a surprisingly high percentage of Americans between 36 and 55 are not Internet users: among respondents age 46 to 55, 19 percent are non-users; among those 36 to 45, 15 percent are non-users.
  • Low adoption of new media -- Although new media is used by large percentages of Internet users age 24 and under, overall large percentages of Internet users never go online to do instant messaging (50 percent), work on a blog (79 percent), participate in chat rooms (80 percent), or make or receive phone calls (85 percent). 

Marketing Takeaway

Expectations and usage on the Internet are different than with other forms of communication. Online, people expect a balance of free and paid information and services. As a marketer, is it important to understand how you can provide free content to drive business transactions. Additionally, as Internet usage continues to increase across all demographics, it is important to adjust your strategy and resources to improve your online marketing efforts.

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