How active is Twitter? In a blog post yesterday, Twitter revealed that 50m tweets are now being sent across the Twitterverse on a daily basis. As Twitter’s Kevin Weil points out, that’s around 600 tweets per second.

Needless to say, the growth in Twitter’s activity level, as measured by tweets, is impressive. In 2007, its first full year in operation, Twitter saw an average of 5,000 tweets per day.

But Twitter’s tremendous, exponential growth has significant implications for the brands that have invested heavily in Twitter, and not all of them are good. While brand marketers that have built a strong presence on Twitter should be pleased that they invested in one of the most popular social media hubs, they should also be concerned about what Twitter’s activity level means for the effectiveness of their Twitter campaigns.

Put simply, 50m tweets per day is both a gift and a curse for brand marketers. On one hand, those 50m daily tweets represent personal interactions that could create opportunities for brand marketers to engage with and respond to individual consumers. On the other hand, those 50m daily tweets represent a significant amount of noise that brand marketers will have to try to sift through to find signal.

Many brands have been lured to Twitter and other popular social networks by a) the prospect of being able to reach ever-elusive and increasingly mobile consumers who may not be accessible via traditional channels, and b) their potential to serve as one-to-one marketing platforms. Yet their popularity today makes both of those things difficult. For brand marketers, Twitter’s 50m daily tweets are problematic for two reasons:

  • It’s increasingly difficult to distribute information and marketing messages effectively. If marketers thought email delivery was difficult, tweet delivery is probably even more so. After all, what are the odds that a Twitter user following more than a handful of Twitter accounts is going to even see your tweets?
  • The volume of tweets makes Twitter a tougher medium for one-on-one interaction, especially for brand marketers with a large number of followers. It’s easy to miss consumer tweets, and it may not be feasible to respond to all of the ones that are received. With very active accounts managed by multiple people, staying on top of individual ‘conversations‘ can also become complicated.

Twitter’s activity level means that brand marketers will have to do more to cut through the clutter. That means costs of managing the medium may rise, and ROI may become harder to find. This is not to say that the costs will be unreasonable, or that there is no ROI. But on Twitter, brand marketers aren’t simply competing with each other for attention; they’re competing with everybody.

In short, I think Twitter is for brand marketers what a popular nightclub is for many city-dwellers on a Friday night. It’s noisy and frenetic, but you still wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. Just be sure to bring your A-game, and some cash if you want to be at the center of the party.

Photo credit: Kaloozer via Flickr.