clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Twitter Says It Reaches More Than One Billion People, Wants Tweets Everywhere

Twitter says that one billion people see tweets every month on the Web.

Kurt Wagner

Prepare to see a lot more tweets in a lot more places.

Syndication was a major theme of Twitter’s second annual developer conference, Flight, on Wednesday, where the company rolled out nearly two dozen new updates and features. Most of those tools are specific to developers (shocker!) but there were a few that, if they work correctly, should catch your attention. That’s because they’re aimed at content consumers — basically anyone who comes across a screen sometime during the day.

Among the syndication announcements were new ways for publishers and brands to compile and then embed tweets onto their websites. For starters, Twitter is rolling out Curator, a tweet curation feature currently available to just a small handful of publishers, to all users over the next week. The feature lets you stitch together a collection of tweets into one embeddable stream. It also launched a new site that pulls all the photos or videos from a group of tweets into a collage, which is also embeddable.

Twitter also announced a partnership with international advertising company JCDecaux, which specializes in outdoor marketing. As part of the deal, JCDecaux will start showing tweets on all of its screens (think bus terminals, shopping malls and even elevators).

The point of all this is to get Twitter content in front of more people. The company has argued for almost a year now that it doesn’t really matter how big its active user base is, a convenient argument since Twitter’s logged-in user base isn’t really growing. Instead, Twitter says, it matters how many people are consuming Twitter content, which doesn’t require you to have a Twitter account. Putting tweets on video screens and encouraging publishers to embed them on their websites is one way to grow that audience.

“Our vision,” explained Michael Ducker, product manager for Twitter’s syndication efforts, in an interview with Re/code, “is that apps have Twitter tabs, that websites use Twitter content in these formats to tell stories, and not as a side rail but as the primary content.”

Until now, Twitter hasn’t shared how big that logged-out audience actually is. Instead, it stuck with “impressions,” or how many tweets are seen, not how many people are seeing them. On Wednesday it finally shared a number: One billion unique people see Twitter content every month on Web or mobile Web. It is still not a complete picture. That number ignores people who see tweets on mobile apps, but it’s a start. Twitter is essentially claiming its audience is more than one billion people despite having just over 300 million monthly active users.

It’s an important discrepancy because Twitter will eventually try to advertise to those one billion people, something it has started to do with partners like Flipboard but hasn’t rolled out more broadly. “We want to make tweets a material part of people’s businesses,” said Ducker. When and how Twitter will do that is still a bit of a mystery.

Other News out of Flight: App Installs

Twitter is dangling a new carrot to drive developers to Twitter: More app installs.

Twitter already lets advertisers embed app-install buttons within tweets, but those are ads and therefore cost money. Twitter announced Wednesday that it is going to start giving developers a chance to disseminate those app-install buttons for free.

Developers can now add an app-install button to their Twitter profile. They can also arrange to have an app-install button included when users tweet info from their app directly back to Twitter. For example, if you tweeted your high score from Candy Crush straight from the Candy Crush app, that tweet may soon contain an app-install button, too. It’s a free feature for developers who use Twitter’s software developer kit.

Why give away app-install opportunities for free? Simple. “It brings more developers to our platform,” said Ducker.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for Vox Recommends

Get curated picks of the best Vox journalism to read, watch, and listen to every week, from our editors.