Twitter finally takes off in UK

The UK is embracing Twitter with gusto, emerging as the fifth most visited social network and fastest growing website, according to the latest statistics from Hitwise.

Twitter traffic in the UK  has increased 22-fold over the last 12 months and is now ranked as the 38th most  frequented website. A year ago the micro-blogging phenomenon was the 969th most visited website and 84th most visited social network. “The noticeable thing about Twitter’s growth is that the vast majority of it – 93% in fact – has occurred during 2009,” said Robin Goad, Director of Research at Hitwise.

Following global trends Twitter is also being utilized as a key driver of traffic to other websites. During May 2009, Twitter was the 30th biggest source of traffic for other sites in the UK, accounting for 1 in every 350 visits to a typical website. 55.9% of traffic was sent to other online media sites, such as social networks, blogs, and news and entertainment websites. However, only 9.5% of Twitter’s downstream traffic is sent to transactional websites. Google UK remains the country’s biggest search engine and source of traffic to other websites with  30.7% of its traffic delivered to transactional sites.

Dell is one of the few examples of using Twitter as a transactional tool, claiming to have generated US$3 million in revenue.  “Twitter has proven to be a fantastic source of traffic for content driven sites, and the media companies with a strong presence on the service are using it to great effect,” commented Goad.

Twitpic, a Twtter based photo upload site, has benefited most from Twitter’s popularity  with the site emerging as the biggest recipient of UK traffic from Twitter during May, picking up 1 in every 13 downstream visits from the social network.  UK Internet visits to Twitpic have increased 250-fold over the last 12 months, and it is now the third most popular photo website in the UK behind and Photobucket.

Twitter was also the 27th biggest source of traffic to News and Media – Print websites in the UK during May.