Speaking on the company’s second quarter earnings call, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said he sees a “big opportunity” in the size of its logged-out audience who visit after seeing tweets on network news or in the newspapers to search for specific content and profiles.
He added: “We feel like we provide limited content to those hundreds of millions of other users who are unique visitors to our properties and we see a big opportunity to serve them just as well as the other two audiences.
“You get a great signal for the kind of content they like to consume and we think those signals will provide the data that we need to deliver the right kinds of monetisation experiences to that audience.”
That could include serving ad units to visitors to profile pages, for example, although Costolo sought to make it “very clear” that Twitter’s focus in the short-term will be enhancing the experience for logged-in users.
Twitter has been criticised by observers and investors for stalling user and engagement growth in previous quarters, but focusing on a different pool of users could allay concerns about its long-term investment potential.
Its number of monthly active users increased by 16 million to 271 million in the three months to 30 June, up from an increase of 14 million users in the first quarter.
Timeline views – Twitter’s measure of user engagement – grew 15 per cent year on year to 173 billion and up 11 per cent on the previous quarter. Ad revenue per 1,000 timeline views grew 100 per cent year on year to to $1.60.
Overall, revenue grew 124 per cent year on year to $312m, with ad revenue up 129 per cent to $277m – the highest rate of year on year growth the company has experienced in six quarters. This acceleration, Costolo said, was driven by higher engagement which “translates into improved ROI for our marketers”. The majority (81 per cent) of ad revenue was generated from mobile devices.
The company reported a loss of $145m, up from a loss of $42m a year earlier, as it continued to make investments in its platform and acquisitions.
Mike Gupta, Twitter head of strategic investments and outgoing chief financial officer, says as the company looks to make improvements to the experience, making it easier for users to find the content they want, it expects timeline views to decrease among monthly active users.
Twitter is continuing with a collection of changes to drive more value to users immediately after they create an account. Costolo said he would not rule out changing the timeline to be curated by an algorithm – similar to the Facebook news feed – as Twitter looks to convert new users into active ones.