UK traffic to Twitter’s website spiked by 22% on Saturday as people flocked to the social messaging site to find out about the footballer who had taken out an injunction against the site, according to research from the measurement company Experian Hitwise. The traffic was 10% higher than for the site’s previous busiest day in the UK, which came on 9 May when the media reported on the creation of an account on the site which purported to name those who had taken out superinjunctions to prevent details being reported.
Hitwise also noted a dramatic rise last week in search terms linked to the injunction served by Giggs’ lawyers on the site. “Ryan Giggs suing Twitter” was the fourth most popular term for the entire week ending on Saturday, despite the fact that the story only broke on the Friday evening. “Who is CTB footballer” was the 10th most popular search term for the whole week.
UK research director Robin Goad said that Twitter was growing where Facebook was not: “12% of visits to the [Twitter] website are coming from new users. To put that into context, 99.5% of visits to Facebook in the UK come from returning visitors, but Twitter continues to attract new users to its website every single day. Facebook is clearly much bigger than Twitter (about 15 times bigger in terms of volume of visits) but Facebook’s growth in terms of new visitors (in the UK market at least) has been pretty static for some months now.”
Though Twitter only represents 0.55% of website visits in the UK – compared with 7.64% for Facebook, and 1% for BBC News – the growth means it has passed the BBC’s iPlayer in terms of popularity. Twitter’s audience is also beginning to reflect the general online population far more accurately than a year ago, according to the Hitwise analysis, suggesting it is becoming mainstream among the UK’s internet users.