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Twitter loses almost as many users as it gains every day

People are interested in Twitter, but they need a reason to stick around.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey onstage Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Vanity Fair

Twitter has struggled to grow its user base for years. It’s arguably the company’s biggest problem.

But what’s interesting is that millions of “new users” still visit Twitter each day — a mixture of brand new people creating a Twitter account for the first time and those who are re-booting an existing account that’s been dormant for more than a month, what Twitter calls “resurrected” users.

Twitter CFO Ned Segal said during the company’s Q3 earnings call Thursday that “two million or more” of these people visit Twitter every day — about two-thirds of them resurrecting previously dormant accounts, and the other third joining as brand-new users.

That’s a lot of people interested in what Twitter has to offer. The bad news? Twitter’s been unable to keep enough of its existing users for that daily growth to make much of a difference.

Over the past two years, Twitter has added an average of just under three million new users per quarter, which means Twitter is losing almost as many old users as it’s gaining new users.

User churn is not uncommon, though it shows the kind of opportunity Twitter has to really grow its user base. There’s clearly interest in the content on Twitter. Three years ago, Twitter said that some 500 million people visited each month without logging in. Since then, the company’s user base has grown by just 46 million users.

So the opportunity for user growth is there. The question is whether Twitter can actually do anything about it. The company just needs to figure out how to get some of those 500 million window shoppers in the door, and keep its existing users from abandoning the service altogether.

Some of that might be possible with more product changes. Twitter has long been criticized for having a difficult sign-up process, for example, so making it easier to follow people once you’ve created your account could help.

There are also more changes needed around user safety to protect against harassment and abuse, and Twitter hopes that some of its other initiatives, like its new live video shows, might draw in more users.

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