Twitter set for surge in users aged 35 plus as it fights to find profit

More than a quarter of Twitter users in the US will be 12 to 44 years old by 2016, according to new figures from eMarketer.

Unlike Facebook, Twitter users are more likely to be in their twenties or thirties. And according to eMarketer, by 2018 the amount of 35 to 44 year olds who use Twitter will almost match the percentage of teens that do.

A change in user demographics could be good news for the social media platform. User growth declined in its first quarter as a public company, sending share prices into a downwards spiral and wiping over $9 billion in market value.

Twitter draws its revenue from sponsored Tweets, which feature like banner ads on a user’s timeline. However, Paul Wallbank, publisher of Networked Globe, says it is too early to tell if a maturation of Twitter’s user base could strengthen the company’s advertising revenue.

Wallbank says it is still early days for social media marketing.

“What we’re doing is transposing the late 20th century marketing models onto social media, which may or may not turn out to be true,” he told SmartCompany.

He also says it is no surprise Twitter users are typically older than Facebook’s.

“The challenge for Twitter is to use its user base effectively. If it happens to be the 25 to 44 age group, then that’s who they have to target.”

Earlier this week, the Interactive Advertising Bureau revealed that for the first time in a calendar year online advertising expenditure surpassed free-to-air TV revenue since records began in 2002. Digital advertising expenditure grew by 19.3% to $3.98 billion, while free-to-air TV came in at $3.87 billion.

Despite all online advertising sectors experiencing strong growth in the 12 months ending 31 December 2013, the strongest figures were in the general display sector. Revenue from display advertising – which includes banner ads on websites – grew by 28.4% to top $1 billion for the first time. Meanwhile search directories grew by 18.1% in the same year, and classifieds by 10.5%.

Twitter currently has just under a billion users worldwide.

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