Web App Masters: A Simple Ladder of Engagement

by June 10, 2010

At the Web App Masters Tour in Philadelphia, PA Mark Trammell outlined Twitter’s approach to helping new and one-time users become loyal repeaters by discussing the company’s focus on A Simple Ladder of Engagement.

  • To measure success, Twitter doesn’t look at page views. They look at registered (125M) and unique users (190M).
  • Twitter processes 700M searches per day. 65M tweets a day. That’s 10 to 1 searches per day vs. tweets.

Sign Up

  • Twitter gets about 330 thousand sign-ups per day. So sign-up is a great opportunity to shape behavior as it is people’s first time experience.
  • Usually when people come to Twitter they see a big cliff. They don’t know what it is or how to use it. The people that have been using it for years know what is going on, new users don’t.
  • In trying to understand how people “get” Twitter –the research team looked at a specific group of users: people that signed up, left, and then came back.
  • The people that got the most out of Twitter were consumers first and then became producers later. They found things they were passionate about, listened, and then found their voice.
  • Twitter wants people to use it as a consumption tool. They see consumption as a way to allow people to settle in and start enjoying Twitter.
  • You shouldn’t have to have an account to get use out of Twitter. They want to provide utility for people without them having to do anything.
  • They key to getting people to what they are passionate about is asking them. The new Twitter sign up process supports this when it surfaces a set of topics people may be interested in.
  • Twitter made the first thing people see after creating an account a list of things they might care about. Before people were seeing things that were random (most popular), now the first thing they do is curate what they care about.
  • The new process is now three steps and more time consuming. But it has a 29% increase in completions and the people who complete the flow are much more engaged because they were exposed to use of the product through the flow.

Magnets, Hooks, & Glue

  • Magnets: things that pull people to a service but may not keep them there. Celebrities are strong magnets for Twitter but do not people there.
  • Hook: get people to return to a service. Connections with family members and subject matter experts get people hooked on Twitter.
  • Glue: a mix of news & information sources, celebrities, friends/family, and local businesses. When people get a good mix of these items on Twitter –that binds them to the service.
  • Embrace lingo. People have been on Twitter for four years know it but others are confused by it. To embrace lingo, you need to explain how people that they care about to use it.
  • 75% of traffic comes from outside Twitter.com. The Web client is only part of the experience. Twitter’s fastest growth is coming from areas where mobile is growing fastest.
  • Users are 3x more likely to add a friend if they are suggested by another person. Dormant users are 4x more likely to re-engage given social motivation.
  • Nothing on Twitter is there that wasn’t first done by users.
  • Lists: saw people creating multiple accounts to track different topics of interest. People had to log in/out. Lists help with that issue – easier to switch back and forth.
  • Hashtags: started with people tweeting gas prices using “#atlgas” –just made these links to search.
  • Build value: add features and remove features as well. It’s often really hard to remove features but if you want to create a great experience, you have to do it.
  • Twitter’s number one operating principle: be a force for good.