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Dick Costolo Says Twitter Is an "Indispensable Companion" That Can Meet Growth Targets

The Twitter chief says that recent changes have already significantly increased the amount of interaction.

Asa Mathat

Dick Costolo says the impact of recent design changes gives him confidence that Twitter can meet its ambitious growth goals.

Costolo said that recent design changes that have made interaction options more visible have increased the number of favorites and retweets as well as private messages tied to public conversations.

He declined to update the forecast that Twitter gave on its recent earnings report, but said he remains confident Twitter can grow, pointing to its central role in big events ranging from the Olympics to the Boston Marathon bombings.

“It’s this indispensable companion to life in the moment,” Costolo said, speaking Thursday at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.

Asked about a Facebook-like design that has been talked about on the Web of late, Costolo said that Twitter will try lots of things in its efforts to bring content more to the forefront. “You will see us doing a significant amount of experimentation around different ideas,” he said.

Twitter will also continue to expand the type of interaction “cards” this year, including features in testing such as click-to-call options.

There’s no one change that will allow Twitter to meet the growth goals, he said, but the cumulative effect of lots of different changes will do the trick.

As for commerce opportunities, Costolo said, “We see commerce happen on Twitter all the time … in the moment, live commerce.”

He declined to comment on specific plans, but pointed to trials that the company has done, such as a Tweet-a-coffee promotion with Starbucks, and said Twitter will do more experimentation.

Twitter is also simplifying the amount of effort it takes to sign up, reducing what was an 11-step process. The company is also shifting the focus from getting users to follow topics of interest to connecting new users to people they already know who are using the service.

On the video side, Costolo said Twitter’s strategy remains focused on partnering with big media to use Twitter to either show highlights after an event (think NFL highlights) or to post a teaser that drives people to upcoming content (think CBS posting a 60-second preview of an upcoming “60 Minutes” episode).

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