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While you were sleeping, while you were away: Twitter wants to capture more visitors who don’t have accounts using timelines and new features

This details were revealed by CEO Dick Costolo at Twitter’sThe Analyst Day call on Nov 12, where he outlined issues Twitter was facing and plans to rectify them.

Twitter has 500 million visitors who don’t have an account or don’t log in. Its tweets, embedded in news articles, tv shows, among others, rack up 185 billion impressions per quarter. About 200 million of the logged out users come in to visit the profile of a celebrity or public figure, according to TechCrunch

Twitter now wants to take advantage of this massive footprint across media and the web.

In the call with analysts, CEO Costolo and Twitter tech officials revealed details of planned features.

Instant Timeline, While You were Away

A plan to retain new users through “Instant Timeline” where it will feed users content even if they haven’t followed anyone yet. For instance, a user might head to Twitter to check out one famous person, and be led to suggestions to check out others.

Twitter’s vice president of product growth Christian Oestlien outlined how Twitter has completely overhauled its onboarding process for the first time since 2011, according to TechCrunch.

“First, users are shown screens that explain how Twitter can help them keep up with live events and their interests, as well as friends. Next, it shows an interest selector so they can choose categories of content to be added to their Instant Timeline,” according to the report.

Users are then prompted to upload their contacts so they can find their friends with a friendly new screen that Oestlien says increased uploads by 100%.

If someone signs up but never really followed enough of the right people to enjoy Twitter and stopped using it, they can see Instant Timeline if they return voluntarily, or from re-engagement efforts like push, email, and remarketing.

Departing from its strictly unfiltered feed, Twitter plans to introduce a new “While You Were Away” feature showing the best tweets since a user last logged in. The system looks at the best tweets from a user’s network since he last opened Twitter, and puts them at the top of his timeline.


Oldhands at Twitter will also be getting new functionality. It plans to allow users to upload, edit, and share videos in real-time on Twitter. Previously, it only had its Vine app for 6-second videos, but the new video feature will have fewer restrictions and be available from within the main Twitter app, according to TechCrunch.


Twitter also plans to add the ability for users to privately share a tweet. Direct Messages (DM) are often used as a back channel to discuss public content, and soon this will be much easier with a button to share an existing tweet from anyone as a DM.


Twitter reported a Q3 revenue of US$361m, up 114% year-on-year, and a net loss of $175m during the same period.

Other key statistics:

  • Advertising revenue totalled US$320m, an increase of 109% year-over-year.
  • Mobile advertising revenue was 85% of total advertising revenue.
  • Data licensing and other revenue totalled US$41m, an increase of 171% year-over-year.
  • International revenue totalled US$121m, an increase of 176% year-over-year.
  • International revenue was 34% of total revenue.

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