Twitter revealed how many of its monthly active users are bots in a report just filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The report indicates that as much as 8.5 percent of Twitter’s monthly active users are bots. A bot is a small, data-collecting software application. Bots are completely automated and involve no human interaction.
This sheds some light on a problem Twitter has with bots posing as human accounts. This is a problem because businesses rely on the accuracy of their audience numbers to estimate their true reach.
The report states how bot counts are calculated
“Our metrics are also affected by third-party applications that automatically contact our servers for regular updates with no user action involved, and this activity can cause our system to count the users associated with such applications as active users on the day or days such contact occurs…
“Up to approximately 8.5 percent of all active users used third party applications that may have automatically contacted our servers for regular updates without any discernable additional user-initiated action.”
This news is concerning to marketers because the cost of advertising on Twitter is based on audience numbers, and it’s understandable that no one wants to pay to advertise to bots.
While that’s a surprisingly large number of bots that make up Twitter’s monthly active users, it’s not the only number folks need to be concerned about. The number of real users who follow an account, only to abandon Twitter a short time later, is also falsely inflating audience numbers.