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Twitter has over 300 million users, but is still losing money

Nicole Lee , @nicole
04.28.15
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In the fast-moving world of social media, Twitter can be considered something of an old-timer; after all, it just turned nine years old this past March. Yet, in many ways, it's still struggling to find itself. Twitter has just reported its first quarter earnings report -- which was incidentally published early due to an unintentional leak -- and while it shows respectable user growth numbers, the company is still very much under water. The social media firm now boasts 302 million users, which is up 18 percent from this time last year and is a good 14 million increase from the previous quarter. Revenue for Q1 was $436 million, which is a decent 74 percent increase year-over-year, but is still below the $440 million forecast. And yes, the company is still not profitable, recording a net loss of $162 million for the first three months of 2015.

Twitter has been especially busy of late trying to broaden its appeal. For one thing, it's constantly attempting to improve its core product, with new features like Twitter Highlights, a new homepage and more ways to send direct messages. It's also investing heavily in video, with products like Vine, Periscopeand its own 30-second offering. At the same time, it's unfortunately still figuring out how to handle abusive users, which remains a sore spot for the company. But more than just making its users happy, it also now has shareholders to answer to, which means it needs to bring in more cash. That's why Twitter is doubling down on advertising with two key announcements. First, it's acquired TellApart, a marketing tech company that previously worked with Facebook's ad department. Second, it now has a partnership with Google's DoubleClick platform that'll offer up more refined ad performance metrics to marketers. Ads are definitely not going away any time soon.

As for video, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo offered a bit more insight into the company's investment in Periscope during today's earnings call. In particular, he said that the livestreaming service gained over a million users in its first ten days, with even more tuning into a broadcast over the web. This is a pretty impressive number considering the app isn't even available on Android yet, though one is reportedly coming soon. Costolo said that part of the reason for the reach is that Periscope broadcasters can easily share their streams on Twitter to get a larger audience. "They can share, watch and be an active participant in immersive live video experience directly from their phones," he said. "It's transporting you into people's lives."

With Periscope, Vine and Twitter, Costolo said that Twitter's new suite of mobile apps is "well positioned" in today's market as more people "turn to video as a way to express themselves." "It's a way to connect with others and view content they enjoy," he said. "You can build an audience and reach more people."

[Image credit: Shutterstock]

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