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Twitter has 316M active users; Majority of new additions SMS followers

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Twitter currently has over 316 million monthly active users (MAUs) globally, reflecting a growth of 15 % year-on-year for the quarter ended June 30, marginally up 2.60% from 308 million MAUs, on a quarter-on-quarter basis. The company added that the vast majority of MAUs added in the second quarter on a sequential basis came from SMS Fast Followers. Twitter added 12 million SMS Fast Followers in the quarter, while core MAUs were 304 million.

In the preceding quarter, the company introduced SMS fast followers: users who sign up and access Twitter solely via SMS. The number of SMS fast followers in the last quarter was approximately 6 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 developed to provide a “taste” of Twitter to those with limited internet access and tempting them to download their app.

“It’s important to note that while sequential growth of SMS Fast Followers was strong in Q2, user activations are not necessarily linear for these types of users. As a result, net additions in future periods could vary,” chief financial officer Anthony Noto said during the earnings conference call.


– Ad sales rose 63% y-o-y to $452 million.

– Data licensing and other revenues rose 44% y-o-y to $50M.

– Mobile was 88% of ad revenue. International segment accounted for 36% of total revenue.

– Total revenues were $502.4 million.

– Net loss was $137 million for the second quarter of 2015 compared to $145 million in the same period in 2014.

Number of advertisers: CFO Anthony Noto also added that the company is “just about to pass the 100,000 advertiser mark.”  During the quarter, Twitter launched objective-based campaigns, reports and pricing to all advertisers globally.

Twitter also introduced installed application category targeting, a feature that enables app advertisers to reach mobile users based on the categories of apps they have installed on their device.

Twitter rolled out Audience Insights, a tool that provides advertisers with aggregate information such as user demographics, interests, and purchasing behaviour so they can better understand their key audiences.

Instant timelines and logged out home page: On the call, interim CEO Jack Dorsey said that instant timelines and logged out pages which the company rolled out last quarter “have not yet had meaningful impact on growing our audience or participation.”

Former CEO Dick Costolo had introduced the feature and said during the previous conference call that it would give users a rich personalized timeline immediately even if they didn’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.

Autoplay videos: Twitter launched a new autoplay feature for native videos, Vines and GIFs, as well as Periscope live video streaming on Android.

Cap on direct messages removed: Twitter also announced that it was removing the 140 characters cap on direct messages and increased it to 10,000 characters.

Whetlab acquisition: In June, Twitter bought machine learning startup Whetlab for an undisclosed amount. Twitter will be integrating Whetlab’s technology into its own platform and the team members will be joining the company following the acquisition.

Head of public policy in India: The company also appointed Mahima Kaul to lead its public policy in India. Kaul joins Twitter after a stint at the Observer Research Foundation where she worked as a fellow for over 2 years. She led the cyber and new media initiative and was on the CyFy committee, a conference on cyber security and internet governance, at ORF.

Summary cards: In July, the company updated its summary cards on mobile (both Android and iOS) to show previews of articles within the tweet. Twitter claims that with this update, users on mobile will be able to see the image, title and summary of the tweet in their timelines and that the format is apparently ‘more attractive’ for consuming information.

Download: Earnings press release and financials

Image Credit: Flickr user NASA GSFC

Earnings call transcript: Seeking Alpha

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