Twitter Is Flatlining

Twitter Is Flatlining

Last quarter, Twitter had 320 million monthly active users, virtually flat from the quarter before. That’s bad news, and if you look closer, it’s actually worse.

Last year Twitter started including what are called SMS Fast Followers, who are people who use the service exclusively by SMS, in its tally of monthly active users (or MAUs). A closer look at Twitter’s earnings report today reveals that excluding these users, Twitter dropped from 307 million MAUs to 305 million MAUs. Ouch.

On the brighter side, Twitter’s 320 million MAUs are a 9 per cent increase from a year before. Furthermore, the company’s $US710 million in revenue is a significant increase from $US479 million a year before. That said, Twitter is still losing money, and the loss hasn’t improved much: The company lost $US521 million in 2015 compared to $US577 million in 2014.

What does this mean? We’ve known for some time that Twitter has problems. Where Facebook continues to grow and grow, Twitter’s been stagnating. It needs to add users at a higher rate or risk growing irrelevant.

The company seems to be well aware of its problem: Jack Dorsey took over as CEO this spring, and promptly removed top executives. This week the company launched a baby step of a timeline revision, and rumours are swirling that Twitter has plans to launch a Facebook-like timeline that’s no longer strictly chronological. Twitter’s core users might not like it, but the company needs more than that base to stop itself from tanking.