Data from GlobalWebIndex shows that number of active users on Twitter jumped 40% from Q2 2012 to Q4 2012.
This equals to 288 million monthly active users across 31 markets. The research says the numbers marks a staggering growth rate of 714% of active users since July 2009 – when Twitter had just 35.5 million monthly active users.
"The way people are using Twitter is changing in two respects," said GlobalWebIndex. "First it is becoming a passive source of discovery for users and secondly, users are using it more as a tool or service rather than a pure social service."
However, only 51% of active users say they have posted a tweet in the past month, showing that half of Twitter’s user base is simply reading, reacting or using Twitter to keep with current news.
Twitter is gradually moving from just being a personal publishing site to a solid social infrastructure that links a user’s internet experience across several devices and platforms.
GlobalWebIndex suggests that in the future, Twitter users may have very little or no interaction with Twitter’s actual web page. Users are predicted to access it primarily through third part apps, operating system integration, connected devices or aggregation services.
While Twitter may enjoy deeper integration in the near future, the microblogging service will be challenged to create a long term business model as advertising may become more of a challenge.
However, services like promoted tweets and hashtag campaigns show the company is going in the right direction.
Twitter is also predicted to see a surge in U.S. member participation.
Recently, Twitter growth in the U.S. has become stagnate and the company’s growth has become more centred on emerging markets like Brazil and Indonesia.
According to GlobalWebIndex, Twitter saw its US membership grow 94% to 33.8 million active users and 59 million account holders in Q4 2012.
Twitter’s recent growth rate is also an opportunity to brands.
The research suggest the growing use of Twitter as a discovery tool means that creating content on the platform is critical for brands.
"Using Twitter is becoming more relevant than ever, but we need to be aware of how any given audience engages with Twitter," said GlobalWebIndex. "Content is the ever growing mega opportunity of the new social landscape."