Twitter CEO Dick Costolo lifted the veil on Twitter user statistics at a small press event on Thursday morning. Besides revealing the company’s active users, he talked about features it is working on, the expansion of promoted tweets, its impressive user growth, and why he’s “excited” that 4 out of 10 active users don’t tweet.
Some stats on Twitter users and usage, none of which includes spambots, Costolo noted:
- There are 100 million global active users on Twitter. According to the company, a “global active” is anyone who logs into Twitter at least once a month. Half of them log in every day.
- Of active users, 55 percent tweet on mobile devices. “We see tremendous growth in mobile, about 40 percent quarter on quarter growth on Twitter on mobile the past three or four quarters,” he said. That’s up over 80 percent since the beginning of the year. “I was surprised when I got here in November ’09 how small the usage of Twitter on mobile was. But that’s now about 55 percent of our actives.”
- There are 400 million monthly uniques to twitter.com. That’s according to Google analytics. And it’s up from 250 million uniques from the beginning of the year. “There are still a lot of people who don’t log into Twitter, but use Twitter every day.”
- Forty percent of active users don’t Tweet, but they do read. “We’re excited about that,” said Costolo. Why? “That’s an indicator Twitter is becoming mainstream,” said Costolo. That means there are that many people “who are active on Twitter, but don’t publish — yet.”
- Simplicity and consistency between devices and platforms. “With Twitter for iPhone and Twitter for Android, you’ll see the interfaces become more consistent,” according to Costolo.
- Tightening the feeback loops. “The activity feed was first piece of that,” he said. That means making it obvious that if you follow someone or are followed, you can see that and react to it.
- Experimentation. “The growth team is focused almost exclusively on experiment, experiment, experiment.” The team is coming up with ideas, rolling them out to a small percentage of users. “If they work, roll them out to 100 percent of users.”
- That means promoted tweets from companies you don’t follow. You’ll see them “everywhere you see Twitter,” he said. That means third-party platforms or any Twitter syndication services. “We’ve been super cautious about the expansion of our ad program,” said Costolo. “Based on engagement ratings and based on capabilities our revenue team has developed that we’re ready to expand further.”
- There’s “no doubt they’ll be able to pull in a massive amount of users,” because they’re combining it with search, mobile and Gmail and YouTube. “You can’t not see that little red number in the top bar,” said Costolo.
- Costolo sees Twitter as different from Google’s social network in terms of simplicity. “Where we think about ourselves is we think about Twitter in terms of how can we simplify it even further. How can we take [stuff] out.”
- “Other services say you have to use your real name because they think they can monetize that better and get more information about you.”
- “We have what can only be referred to as a truckload of money in the bank. We were able to do that on favorable terms to grow the business on our own terms. We want to remain independent . . . and not be beholden to public markets until we feel like we want to be.”