Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Twitter Finally Discloses How Many Active Users It Has: 100M

Twitter has 100 million active monthly users and 400 million monthly visitors to its Web site, said CEO Dick Costolo, in a press conversation at Twitter’s San Francisco headquarters he called his “state of the union” on Thursday morning.

Costolo said 40 percent of active users don’t create their own tweets, just read other people’s.

So that means many people read tweets but don’t create them, and in addition to that many more aren’t even logged in when they visit Twitter.com.

All these numbers are up significantly from the beginning of the year, Costolo said. In January, Twitter had just 250 million monthly visitors. Mobile usage seems to be a significant driver: 55 percent of active users access mobile Twitter products.

Costolo said his product goals are simplicity, tightening feedback loops, and surfacing content. But it’s a balance between maintaining the volume of the “roar of the crowd” as well as the most relevant and interesting bits, something he expects his product team to iterate on.

He said the reason Twitter hasn’t been forthcoming with these long-anticipated stats is because they would only be “partial,” and Twitter wanted to give a fuller story. And the reason the company hasn’t improved its products as much as people would have expected is because it had to get its infrastructure in order.

That infrastructure work is now done. So when a recent Sunday produced a record 8,900 tweets per second through the combination of buzzy topics like Hurricane Irene, a Manchester United win, Beyonce’s pregnancy announcement and other normal tweeting, Twitter didn’t even notice the record had been set until the next morning.

Costolo said Twitter has been careful to develop its business because “we didn’t want to do anything that optimized for near-term revenue at the expense of the experience.” But promoted tweets will now be syndicated to all platform products, he said.

He touted the ad products’ engagement rates and mentioned a recent Virgin America campaign that with one tweet resulted in the airline’s fifth-largest sales day ever. He also said Twitter’s recent massive funding round will keep it from worrying about IPO windows and the like.

Versus competition from Google+ and others, Costolo maintained that Twitter’s approach will be to differentiate through its simplicity. “We’re thinking of Twitter as how can we simplify the product even further, what can we edit out,” he said.

Regarding the ongoing debate around whether users should be required to give their real names on social networks — which Twitter does not — Costolo said, “We’re not wedded to pseudonyms; we’re wedded to letting people use the service in the way they see fit.”

Costolo reiterated that he sees opportunities for Twitter ecosystem developers to focus on things like data mining rather than Twitter clients. “We don’t anticipate taking equity positions in Twitter ecosystem companies,” he said. “But we will need the Buddy Media to Facebook, the Clickable to Google.”


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