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Twitter has 302 mn MAUs; plans to start counting SMS fast followers; buys TellApart

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Twitter currently has over 302 million monthly active users globally, reflecting a growth of 18% year-on-year, Twitter CFO Anthony Noto  informed during the company’s Q1 2015 earnings conference call. The US market represents 65 million MAUs or 21.52% of the global users.

He added that the company has prioritzed emerging markets as a growth vehicle and added a new set of users known as SMS fast followers.  These are users who sign up and access Twitter solely via SMS. The number of SMS fast followers in the quarter was approximately six million.

Twitter is now working with Bangalore-based mobile marketing & analytics platform ZipDial which it bought earlier this year. Twitter and ZipDial had developed a platform where users could get could receive tweets from a Twitter account via SMS by dialing a phone number. Rishi Jaitly, head of Twitter India, had said that similar approaches would be now developed to provide a “taste” of Twitter to those with limited internet access and tempting them to download their app. “As we now have specific initiatives in place to grow and monetize this user base, we will begin counting SMS fast followers and our total MAU count going forward,” Noto added in the conference call.

Responding to an anlyst query, Noto said that they have started monetizing SMS fast followers in a small way and did that with one partner around the IPL. “But today, the monetization rate of SMS fast followers is going to be meaningfully lower than the monetization rate of any of our other users,” Noto said.

TellApart acquisition: Twitter also announced that it has acquired TellApart, a marketing technology company providing retailers and e-commerce advertisers with cross-device retargeting capabilities through dynamic product ads and email marketing.

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Instant timelines and logged out home page: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo also said that the company is running tests on what it calls instant timelines to give users a rich personalized timeline immediately even if they don’t follow any accounts during the sign-up process.Twitter has launched instant timelines on iOS and Android and soon will be testing them on the web.

Costolo also mentioned that they launched the first version of a logged out home page. “There are more than half billion people who visit Twitter but don’t login. By organizing our content in a way that’s easily discovered and consumed, we extend the reach of Twitter far beyond the 302 million people who log in every month. We first introduced the logged out home page on desktop in the U.S. and we intend to bring it more places over time,” Costolo explained in his opening remarks.

Periscope videos: Earlier in March, Twitter acquired livestreaming application Periscope. Costolo in the conference call said that the company will be focusing on video to give users immersive live video experiences directly from their phones. Costolo added that one million people signed up with Periscope within the first 10 days of the application’s launch. Costolo also mentioned that people have started using Periscope to broadcast streams of videos of the recent Baltimore riots. Maybe, Twitter is looking at news organizations to give a more immersive experience into news reporting.

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