That reality has helped send Twitter's shares down more than 35%
since the beginning of the year and prompted the service to tout a
new metric to try to prove the power of its content. The company
said 500 million unique visitors land on Twitter content every
month through search or syndication, yet never register with the
site. The company reports 284 million monthly active users.
To lure those potential users, Twitter announced a slew of
product enhancements and laid a basic road map for how it will
measure, track and serve ads to the eyeballs that never
"We have a goal to build the largest daily audience in the
world," CEO Dick Costolo said.
Advertisers met Twitter's pronouncements with cautious optimism,
eager to extend their reach to this audience but unsure how -- or
why -- they would do so.
Twitter has teased an algorithm it's developing -- a feed, like
Facebook's, based on suggested content. On Wednesday, Twitter gave
a few details, including an "instant timeline" to acclimate new and
This echoes Facebook's move from four years ago, when the social
network steered incoming users toward brand pages, said Matthew
Wurst, VP-general manager of social at 360i. Thus far, Twitter feeds have only
operated in reverse-chronological order, forcing brands to jump on
conversations in order to be seen. But its new features, such as
"while you're away," which lifts earlier content, could change
that. "Now, the quality of content may matter more than the
timing," Mr. Wurst said. "We're entering new and unchartered
Twitter has hinted that it would rejigger how it reports its
addressable audience size. On earnings calls, execs frequently
mention that those seeing Twitter content account for an audience
two to three times larger than its registered user base.
For the first time, Twitter quantified that audience and
projected it will net $2.50 in revenue per logged-out user. (Its
figure for logged-in users is more than twice that.)
Marketers were intrigued, but not salivating. "Over time, it
could get there. But as an advertiser, I'm looking for active,
engaged users," said Douglas Rozen, who leads digital, social and
mobile for Meredith Xcelerated Marketing. "If I was just going
after eyeballs, there are way more efficient means."