Twitter reported revenue of $595 million in the first quarter of 2016, up 36 percent compared with the year-earlier period, but below analysts’ expectations.
Ad revenue of $531 million was up 37 percent year-over-year, and mobile accounted for 88 percent of total ad revenue.
Twitter reported a GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) net loss of $80 million, or 12 cents per share, less than one-half the company’s net loss in the first quarter of 2015.
The company reported 310 million monthly active users at the end of the first quarter of 2016, up from 305 million MAUs at the end of the fourth quarter of 2015.
Twitter said in its letter to shareholders:
We saw a return to sequential growth in monthly active usage, driven by seasonality and marketing initiatives. We also saw deepening engagement (likes, replies and retweets) driven by a few important product launches, including the enhancements to the timeline and the Twitter-Periscope integration. We remain focused on disciplined execution to drive sustained audience growth over time.
Revenue came in at the low end of our guidance range because brand marketers did not increase spend as quickly as expected in the first quarter. We see a clear opportunity to increase our share of brand budgets over time. We have a strong product roadmap designed to tap into incremental brand-oriented online video budgets, and will deliver additional features for advertisers later this year—including more detailed demographic targeting and verification, and reach and frequency planning and purchasing.
In February, we launched two great features to help businesses doing customer service on Twitter. The first, direct-message prompts in tweets, makes it super easy for a business to reply to a public tweet and move the conversation to a private DM. The second, Customer Feedback Cards, lets businesses survey customers about their experience right inside a DM conversation.
The two products work best when they’re used in tandem: A business sees a complaint, addresses it over DM and can see how satisfied their customer is with their solution, all right within Twitter. Businesses ranging in size from small local businesses to global companies like Apple are already using these tools today.
Live-streaming video is a strong complement to the live nature of Twitter, and it helps instantly show the value and power of Twitter. In the past, the conversation has happened on a separate screen from the event itself. What we’re doing now through live-streaming video, both in Twitter and Periscope, is bringing the event and the conversation together on a single surface.
Earlier this month, we expanded our three-year relationship with the National Football League to include streaming of 10 Thursday Night Football games, as well as pregame analysis shows, postgame highlight shows and behind-the-scenes Periscope broadcasts next season.
These games will be great for NFL fans already on Twitter. It will also show people who don’t already use Twitter that our service is the destination for live events and the conversations around them.
We plan to expand our global offering of live sports, as well as live news, politics and entertainment. For content producers and rights holders like the NFL, we offer the ability to reach a large global, mobile and younger audience both on and off of Twitter, together with years of experience making money jointly with partners through our Amplify program. You should expect to see us working with other partners to bring these kinds of joint experiences to life on Twitter.
Periscope is also growing rapidly. People have created more than 200 million broadcasts to date, and they watch over 110 years of live video every day on iOS and Android. That doesn’t include views from Periscopes on the web or embedded in tweets, another improvement we’ve introduced, which is driving significantly more video views and deeper engagement in the form of likes and retweets. We also made a number of improvements to the application to make things faster and show you when people you know are in broadcasts. In addition, we’ve teamed up with GoPro to enable its cameras to broadcast directly to Periscope.
Readers: What are your thoughts on Twitter’s first-quarter-2016 financial results?
Article courtesy of SocialTimes
Vernal spent more than eight years at Facebook after a six-year stint at Microsoft.
He said in a Facebook post (embedded below):
It’s really tough to leave—Facebook is a rare and exceptional company filled with extraordinary people, and I couldn’t be more excited about what lies ahead. At the same time, I’m inspired and humbled to take on a new challenge. In the next couple of months, I’ll be joining the venture team at Sequoia Capital.
One of the most important things I’ve learned at Facebook is that a small team of people with vision and drive can change the world. Sequoia Capital has a long history of helping small teams create some of the most impactful companies in the world, including Apple, Google, Airbnb and WhatsApp. While I’m sad to leave Facebook, I’m excited to join Sequoia and work with a new wave of bold, driven, and visionary entrepreneurs.
Sequoia Capital venture capitalist Bryan Schreier said in a statement, as reported by Re/code:
You don’t recruit people like Mike. They choose you and we are thrilled to have him join. His experience scaling engineering, product and design teams at Facebook will be invaluable to Sequoia founders working to build similarly transformative companies.
Re/code also shared a statement from Facebook:
Mike Vernal has been an integral part of the Facebook team for eight years. While we’re sad to lose him, we’re happy for him to take the next step in his career and wish him all the best.
Article courtesy of SocialTimes
A Snapchat spokesperson confirmed to Re/code that Krishnan was joining the company’s growth and revenue team, but no further specifics on his role were offered, and a Facebook spokesperson also confirmed to Re/code that Krishnan was leaving the social network.
Wagner pointed out that Snapchat has tapped high-profile Facebook talent in the past, including former Instagram director of business operations Emily White, former Facebook head of diversity and inclusion Sara Sperling and former Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer program global director Mike Randall, none of whom are still with Snapchat.
Readers: How do you think Krishnan will help Snapchat ramp up its advertising efforts?
Image of Sriram Krishnan courtesy of his Facebook Timeline.
Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed
As Twitter prepares to light the candle on its 10th birthday, the site is at somewhat of a crossroads.
Revenue-wise, Twitter is growing as an advertising platform. More businesses, small and large, are paying for Promoted Tweets. Major brands are taking advantage of exclusive ad units such as the branded hashtag emoji and First View.
Will McInnes, CMO at Twitter Marketing Partner Brandwatch, was really impressed with what Twitter has done on the advertising side:
Twitter has clearly got their game together on the commercial side. Their earnings announcement shows good financial results that make you feel proud. Achieving their revenue targets, successfully innovating with new formats on the commercial and advertising and marketing fronts is good news. The product is where Twitter needs to focus now as product innovation will be key to driving much-needed new users. Also, there’s a clear commitment to shareholders to build out the portfolio for marketers – they’ve zeroed in on that commitment, and I’m completely confident that they will do it.
However, many users find Twitter either too confusing or too much to keep up with. During its latest earnings conference call on Wednesday, CEO Jack Dorsey repeatedly talked about how he wants to emphasize the site’s real-time nature, but make it a more accessible platform:
We’re focused now on what Twitter does best, live. Twitter is live. Live commentary, live conversations, and live connections. Whether it’s breaking news, entertainment, sports, or everyday topics, hearing about and watching the live event unfold is the fastest way to understand the power of Twitter.
Twitter has always been considered a second screen for what’s happening in the world and we believe we can become the first screen for everything that’s happening right now. And by doing so, we believe we can build the planet’s largest daily connected audience.
Twitter faces a major problem: stagnant user growth. Twitter actually lost 2 million monthly active users in Q4 at a time when that figure should be skyrocketing up. For the advertising side to continue to grow, it stands to reason that Twitter needs an increasing amount of people to be advertised to. To be fair, the company noted in a letter to shareholders that the site has gained more users in early Q1 2016.
— Cory Johnson (@CoryTV) February 10, 2016
Unless you’ve been on Twitter for some time or know exactly who you want to follow, Twitter can be a lonely experience — full of speaking into a void and trying to engage with people who have thousands of accounts they’re following. Combined with a firehose of information, it’s easy to see why many people sign up, check Twitter out, then leave.
But what can Twitter do? In addition to focusing on still being live, Twitter has integrated new features to make the site more user-friendly, such as Moments and Show Me The Best Tweets First. The company is trying to balance the wishes of power users who have been on the site for nearly a decade with the casual users who currently lack engagement motivation.
Many users haven’t been a fan of a more algorithm-based timeline, as the raw flow of information is one of Twitter’s distinguishing features. Twitter announced Moments with a splash; Dorsey said that the tweet-curating feature has been successful so far:
Moments has proven to be a fantastic way to tell a story, so it’s a collection of tweets in chronological order. We’re seeing a lot of positive activity with Moments in the timeline and people tweeting Moments.
When a Moments is in a tweet, it’s opened with higher-than-average click-through, which is really awesome. So we want to focus a whole lot more energy on enabling people to tweet out Moments, but also more people to create these Moments as well. But it all goes back to that focus on the timeline and making the timeline better and better and better and better.
Louis Gray, the senior program manager of Google Analytics, has an idea. Gray notes that the constantly-live flow of tweets can be a “detriment” to people who aren’t ready for all of that information.
He acknowledges that the people who love the live stream of tweets aren’t really in the majority, and that a personalized experience would be a smart next step for Twitter:
So imagine you’re one of the millions of users of Twitter (or Facebook, etc.) who doesn’t check in every day. On the rare occasion you do visit, you’re not seeing a feed of updates from people who matter to you most. You’re instead seeing a feed of updates from people who post the most. And quantity rarely was quality. When your selling action to those most likely to leave your service is to give them something low quality and off topic, that’s a problem. And yet, for many services, that’s the default.
Twitter should be personal just for me. So should Facebook. And LinkedIn. And the web at large. And my phone and car and so on. If a dichotomy is set up between something that’s smart and personal against one that isn’t, I know I’m going to give the service a chance to give me a better experience — and if not, I should always be able to go back.
Readers: What could Twitter do to entice new and novice users?
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Twitter’s advertising efforts worked well in Q4 2015, but the company is having trouble retaining users — much less enticing new ones.
Twitter announced its Q4 2015 results Wednesday, showing that not counting SMS Fast Followers, monthly active users (MAUs) declined from 307 million in Q3 to 305 million in Q4. Year-over-year, this is only a 6 percent increase.
However, Twitter’s shareholders letter is quick to point out that they’ve seen January monthly active user levels rise back to Q3 levels. Impressively, mobile MAUs represented about 80 percent of total MAUs.
As of the end of January, we’ve seen MAUs return to Q3 levels. Confident in continued growth with disciplined execution. #TWTR
— TwitterIR (@TwitterIR) February 10, 2016
Advertisers have been much happier with Twitter’s progression. The company reported a Q4 revenue of $710 million — a year-over-year increase of 48 percent. Overall in 2015, Twitter’s revenues exceeded $2.2 billion. Ad engagement is up 153 percent, showing that users are reacting well to ads — no small feat.
Another huge announcement for Twitter: the company now has more than 130,000 active advertisers, a 90 percent year-over-year jump. In its shareholder letter, Twitter talked about the growth among its small business sector:
We expect that SMB growth will continue as we improve our product, making it faster and easier to run campaigns and improve our direct response tools. We are also very pleased by the growth in active users of our Tweet Analytics dashboard, where people can measure the performance of their organic Tweets and can choose to amplify that performance with our SMB ads product. In Q4, our Tweet Analytics dashboard had over 25 million active users, up 3x compared to Q3, creating a large and fast-growing pool of potential marketers to convert into SMB advertisers.
Still, arguably the most pressing problem facing Twitter is the stagnant user growth. In Q4, Twitter reported a total audience (taking into account MAUs and logged-out users) of 800 million. That means roughly 480 million people view Twitter content without logging in.
Through a sample experience on a log-out screen and an algorithmic Timeline setup, Twitter is bending over backwards to cater to users who are confused by the service.
In the shareholder letter, Twitter explained how they want to make the site easier and more intuitive to use:
Twitter is an iconic service and a globally recognized brand. We are going to fix the broken windows and confusing parts, like the .@name syntax and @reply rules, that we know inhibit usage and drive people away. We’re going to improve the timeline to make sure you see the best Tweets, while preserving the timeliness we are known for. The timeline improvement we announced just this morning has grown usage across the board (including Tweeting and Retweeting). We’re going to improve onboarding flows to make sure you easily find both your contacts and your interests. We’re going to make Tweeting faster while making Tweets more expressive with both text and visual media. We’re going to help people come together around a particular topic, such as our @NBA timelines experiences. Relentlessly refining Twitter will enable more people to get more out of Twitter faster.
Readers: How can Twitter make the site easier to use — without alienating core users?
Article courtesy of SocialTimes | RSS Feed
Twitter announced an update Wednesday morning that could signal the eventual death of the reverse-chronological timeline.
Now, users can choose to have an experience that surfaces “the best Tweets” that they’ve missed, regardless of time, atop timeline. Twitter has been testing a non-chronological timeline, with mixed reviews from users. This is the official rollout for iOS, Android and Web.
Though some users have found the non-chronological timeline a bit confusing, Twitter senior engineering manager Mike Jahr said that it had led to higher amounts of retweets and engagement:
We’ve already seen that people who use this new feature tend to Retweet and Tweet more, creating more live commentary and conversations, which is great for everyone. To check it out now, just go into the timeline section of your settings and choose ‘Show me the best Tweets first‘. We’ll be listening to your feedback and making it even better over time. Then we’ll be turning on the feature for you in coming weeks — look out for a notification in your timeline. We love it and think you will too. If you don’t, send your thoughts our way, and you can easily turn it off in settings.
We think this is a great way to get even more out of Twitter and we’re excited for you to experience it.
A help center entry by Twitter suggests that the default setting of “Show me the best Tweets first” is on:
Note: Not all users seem to have this feature right now.
It’s interesting that Twitter wants to change the precise thing that makes it so different from Facebook: the reverse-chronological timeline. Twitter experts have said that the firehose of Tweets can be a bit overwhelming for new and novice users: the kinds of people Twitter is trying so hard to court. Many Facebook users detest the News Feed algorithm and badly want what Twitter has had from the start: a pure, unfiltered stream.
Instead of a neat timeline, users who don’t opt out of this will see tweets ranked in terms of importance or interest. With the non-chronological timeline test Twitter ran in December, re-tweets often appeared before the original tweet.
Readers: What do you think of this update?
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