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Twitter to Wall Street: We're Still Bigger Than You Think

Twitter says its audience is much larger than its 284 million monthly logged-in users.

Vjeran Pavic for Re/code

Twitter repeated a familiar message to Wall Street analysts Wednesday: We reach a lot more people than our monthly active users count lets on.

Twitter has preached this before — multiple times — but on Wednesday at the company’s Analyst Day in San Francisco, Twitter finally provided some figures to back up its claim that monthly active users don’t paint the whole picture when it comes to Twitter’s audience.

CEO Dick Costolo said Twitter reaches more than 500 million people each month who visit some aspect of without logging into an account. That number is new, but not a surprise. CFO Anthony Noto said as much during the company’s Q3 earnings call last month, although he described it as one to two times the size of Twitter’s monthly active user total, which is now at 284 million users.

The concentric circles that Twitter used to describe its reach to analysts
The concentric circles that Twitter used to describe its reach to analysts

Of those 500 million+ who visit the service, 125 million come to Twitter’s homepage and either don’t sign in or leave before creating an account. That’s a lot of potential users Twitter would love to get in the door, so there’s a large opportunity there for future growth.

Twitter also says that it creates 185 billion impressions each quarter through what it calls syndicated tweets — that is, tweets that are broadcast or embedded on other platforms. For example, you may see Twitter content on the local news broadcast. This doesn’t mean you have a Twitter account, but Twitter argues it is still providing value this way by distributing its content to an audience much larger than the 284 million logged-in users.

The new metrics and continued emphasis on the site’s logged-out visitors appears to have appeased Wall Street. Twitter stock was up almost 7.5 percent by the first coffee break at Analyst Day.

But those figures alone are just step one for Twitter. Now, the service has to explain how an audience that size helps the company.

Twitter has yet to monetize its logged-out user base, and Costolo said on the company’s Q2 earnings call that the company has no plans of doing so in the immediate future. Twitter has made a living by targeting its logged-in users with (what it hopes is) relevant advertising, but that’s nearly impossible to do with logged-out users. Twitter could see what prompted you to visit the site — did you come from ESPN? Perhaps you’re a sports fan! — but as a logged-out user, they really have no information about you.

Does Twitter have new plans to monetize this audience? If so, how can they do so effectively? Twitter’s revenue boss Adam Bain is scheduled to speak Wednesday afternoon, so perhaps he’ll have some answers. We’ll update if he does.

Here are a few other announcements Twitter made Wednesday:

  • In Twitter’s effort to bring on new users, the company is working on a new instant timeline option where new users select a few topics they’re interested in (news, sports) and Twitter follows people and generates a timeline for them. Users don’t have to search and identify people to follow, they simply create their profile and voila — they have content.
  • Twitter will roll out a native video feature in Q1 of 2015, according to VP of Product Kevin Weil. Today, users can share videos to Twitter through Twitter-owned Vine. Coming soon, they’ll be able to capture video and upload to Twitter through the app.
  • Costolo says that Twitter has plans to build more standalone apps, like Vine, in the future. He didn’t specify product categories Twitter will focus on, but the multi-app strategy is a popular one that has been adopted by other social companies like Facebook and LinkedIn.
  • Twitter announced that users will soon be able to send tweets to others on the platform through Twitter’s Direct Messaging product. In other words, Twitter wants users to take a public conversation into the private sphere using their messaging service. That update will begin rolling out next week.
  • Twitter users aren’t creating more content than they were a year ago. In fact, that number has plateaued. Users still create 500 million tweets per day, the same figure the company reported last October.

This article originally appeared on

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