Twitter Adds 'Instant Timeline' to Attract New Users

Trying to Lower the Barriers to Getting Started

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A banner with the Twitter logo hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange in November 2013 as the company went public.
A banner with the Twitter logo hangs outside the New York Stock Exchange in November 2013 as the company went public. Credit: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the company will unveil products to attract new users and others who don't normally pay attention to the microblogging service, as it works to extend its reach beyond the base of regular users.

Mr. Costolo said Wednesday at the company's first analyst day in San Francisco that Twitter will roll out an "instant timeline" to "remove all that friction for new users." The product will let consumers see what's going on on the site without having to first follow people.

The CEO also said the company is working on new mobile applications besides its Vine video-sharing app and added that more than 500 million people come to Twitter each month without logging in.

Twitter's ad revenue has risen steadily, reaching $320 million in the third quarter, a 109% annual increase. But the company is on a mission to explain its prospects to appease investors who are disappointed after several quarters of slowing user growth and questioning whether the product may ever reach the scale of Facebook, which has 1.3 billion members or about five times the users. Mr. Costolo has prioritized improving the company's product even if users are logged out of the service and coming into Twitter via a link to a tweet, or to view someone's profile.

Twitter's monthly active user count rose 23% to 284 million in the third quarter, down from 24% growth the prior quarter.

The company went public at $26 a share last November and the stock has been under pressure this year amid investor questions. Mr. Costolo has replaced several top lieutenants, including ousting his chief operating officer and appointing a new chief financial officer and head of product.

"People are on Twitter because they like to see tweets, but they need to curate the site to engage the casual reader, who just want to easily find these important nuggets," Walter Price, a portfolio manager at RCM Capital Management, said today on CNBC.

~ Bloomberg News ~

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