How Twitter got 29% more people to sign up

Many people have heard of Twitter. Few understand its value.

A couple of Twitter employees recently gave a talk about the problems people signing up and staying at Twitter have. The most interesting takeway was this:

What keeps people on Twitter is not what brings them here.

First of all, Twitter is hard to learn. How do @ replies and hashtags work, for example? It’s like learning a new language. In fact, even people who have been using Twitter a long time are often confused about the details of how Twitter works.

This is one reason why 100’s of thousands of new users join Twitter each day and never come back again. They never figure out what they can get out of Twitter. If someone hits a barrier in their first use of Twitter and they don’t come back after seven days, they’re likely never to return.

Twitter’s  research team talked to people who signed up, gave up, and then later came back and became active users. They wanted to figure out how to make people find the value they could get out of Twitter. They learned that the more time people spent on Twitter, the more they saw its value.

So one of the first things they did was to replace a suggested users list with a set of categories that allowed people to find the interests they cared about up front, so they received tweets of interest to them, to keep them spending time on the service, finding value here.

Overall, the new process designed after surveying users is now three steps and more time consuming. But nearly a third (29%) more people complete the sign up process now, and the people who do are more engaged.

I also noticed that Twitter sometimes recommends @TweetSmarter as worth following now to new accounts. We’ve easily answered 10,000 questions on Twitter by tweet and DM for new and regular users. It took Twitter three years to notice us, but it won’t change what we do one bit.

We’re here to help anyone who asks, one user at a time :)

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