Meanwhile, ad revenue per thousand "timeline views" -- a metric
that represents every time users refresh their Twitter streams --
was up 96% to $1.44, a good indicator that Twitter is getting
better at extracting revenue out of user engagement.
On the user front, however, growth was still relatively flat.
Twitter added 14 million monthly active users last quarter, up to
255 million from 241 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. In the
U.S., it added 3 million users, upping its total to 57 million.
That's better than the 1 million it added in the fourth quarter,
but it shows that Twitter is still failing to appeal to the mass
social-networking audience that Facebook -- which had 202 million
monthly users in North America last quarter -- has cultivated.
It's a problem that Twitter is eager to address, through product
changes like the revamped desktop user profiles it introduced
earlier this month on the Today show, and potentially even through
marketing of its own. Ad Age reported in March that Twitter was
reaching out to ad agencies, looking for creative ideas for how to market
Most of the new users are coming from abroad, which is
problematic for Twitter because they're currently much less
valuable. Ad revenue per thousand timeline views for U.S. users was
$3.47 last quarter, compared to $0.61 for international users.
Twitter stock was down by more than 10% in after-hours
Mr. Costolo said today that he's pleased by Twitter's user
growth -- which he characterized as "reaccelerated" in the U.S. --
and that he sees it as the result of an ongoing effort and not due
to any single change. He mentioned algorithmic changes in the
recommendation of accounts to follow and efforts to make Twitter
more visually engaging as contributing factors. But he was also
circumspect about the road ahead.
"We still firmly believe that it will be the combination of
changes that we make over the course of the year on that roadmap
that will result in a change in the growth of the platform," said
Mr. Costolo. He also teased improvements to come, including in the
area of direct messaging, which are intended to make the network
stickier for more users.
Twitter's net loss was was $132 million, up from $27 million a
year earlier, with $126 million of that allotted for stock-based
compensation expense. It also made $24 million from its data
licensing business "and other revenues", up 76% year over year.
Even if Twitter's user growth remains modest in the near-term,
there are still plenty of opportunities for it to generate more
revenue from the users it has, which last quarter's results
"Twitter's ad products are still relatively new, and there's
plenty of pent-up demand [from marketers] in the existing user base
once the ad units and the measurement model mature," said Bryan
Wiener, chairman of the social-marketing company Expion.