Twitter CEO Dick Costolo’s “State Of The Union” Address

100 million active users. 1 billion tweets every seven days. Plans to grow the ad business. These stats and facts are part of a “State Of The Twitter” talk Twitter CEO Dick Costolo gave to the press today. Live blogging below!

Dick arrives. Nothing big, he says. “I just wanted to give you a state of the union on the business.”

He’s naming some of the people who have come on to help build the business. Jack Dorsey among those who came back in. “He speaks with the fluency of the inventor of the product,” which is good to have when you have contention between groups in the company.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there,” he said at a company all hands meeting in the past. Spent time after that trying to crystalize what was unique about Twitter, not just microblogging service, social network. Decided “instantly connect people anywhere to what’s most meaningful.” I think I caught all that.

He and Jack say they want Twitter to be “The world in your pocket” … “yur world in your pocket.”

Vital signs they track. Growth, product innovation, health of business — revenue. “We should think of revenue as the way people think of breathing, it’s necessary for life but it’s not the purpose of life.”

We made a decision in November of last year, not ship any new features at all until focused on porting the infrastructure to new one on new hardware in new data center to support the scale they wanted to achieve wthout having to pause and fix things.

In summer of 2010, set records for tweets per second in the World Cup, 3100 TPS when Japan scored goal, then up to 3300 when Brazil scored later on. But other thing that happend is that they were “whaling” through fail whale errors at they call it all the time. “There was no way to get to 3400 tweets per second. We were at capacity.”

Few Sundays ago, hit 8,900 TPS per second. Irene, Beyonce, Manchester United (I think) game, all pushed traffic — and they didn’t even blink over it.

Talked before didn’t want to talk about growth numbers without a complete picture. Think has them now. We have over 100 million global actives of twitter, at least once per month. Half active users log in every day, so 50 million active every day. 55% of active users are active on mobile.

Have over 400 million monthly uniques just to, according to Google Analytics, up from 250 million uniques from beginning of year. There are still a lot of people who don’t log into Twitter but use it every day. Fred Wilson’s mom, for example, a story he tells about how his mom checks Fred’s twitter stream.

Global active number up over 80% since beginning of the year, that 100 million number.

Twitter as more mainstream, a stat about that. Number of people who haven’t yet tweeted. He’s excited about this stat, he says. Used to be you had a blank box only, trying to get you to tweet. Now lots of changes to try and help you find people to follow, to consume, and eventually gets people going. 40% of our active users now don’t tweet, way up from beginning of year. “We’re excited about that. I think that’s super healthy and we’ll conceive as a way to bring user” from consumption to simple publishing.

Product. One big area, I think he said (sorry, didn’t catch fully) is making the UI more consistent for mobile.

Next. Doing work to “tighten the feedback loop” and make it easier to see what people you know are doing. New activity feed is part of this, who those you know decide to follow, tweet, etc. “We’re going to be doing more and more of that.”

Now at billion tweets every five days. “There’s all this great content pouring into Twitter.” We want to surface all this content, which means surfacing the worldwide content on Twitter and then more surfacing what happens on your world on Twitter.

Doing experiments, ways to manage the timeline flow is one example, so people don’t feel they have an empty timeline. Super happy with product innovation.

Health of the business. “Great!” Promoted tweets will soon come from companies you don’t follow. “We’ve been super cautious about the expansion of our ad program.” Feel from what they’ve seen so far that ready to expand further. Promoted tweets will go beyond and everywhere Twitter is. “Promoted tweets will go everywhere that Twitter goes.” That means syndicated partners, clients, etc.

Ad base in US and globally grows. Just ran ad campaign for Virgin America, fly forward give back, buy a ticket, they gave X dollars to charity. That made their 5th largest sales day ever for the company, just that one ad.


People who aren’t tweeting? Dick say they’re reading timelines. Fred Wilson example again. His son uses Twitter each day on iPhone and just follows NBA players. “For him, that’s Twitter.” Just reading what peopel say.

What’s Twitter role in the marketing mix? Our users are super engaged. The 40% who don’t tweet are following accounts, reading, they are engaged. [By the way, those active users do NOT include spam accounts. Those have been filtered out, Costolo said]. The change, where all traffic goes through that, helps people better understand the volume Twitter sends.

Other products that will offer to marketers? Firm believe that their platform is the only component they need to have to be an independent business. Make money now by licensing their data stream and ad revenue. We have no intention to scale the data licensing business. We’ll keep that, as it’s important that third party can use it, value in providing to them, not just altruistic. But the focus is on scaling the advertising business. “That’s the only thing we think we need to do to be a successful business.”

Promoted tweets. Didn’t catch all of it, but a white-label self-serve platform is coming.

Thoughts on Google+? I said if you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. Said what active user number is. “It’s absolutely our goal to be on two billion devices.” To do that, you need to be simple. Google+ can no doubt pull in tons of users by bundling with search, the red notification alert, Android, YouTube.

We’re thinking about Twitter on how we can simplify the product even further. That’s what makes it different. “What can we ‘edit’ out,” to use a term that Twitter product managers say.

Platform? We said there were plenty of Twitter clients already. But wish more things for CRM like Radian 6 and ExactTarget for businesses asking Twitter for this.

One of the things will do to better promote that will be quarterly meetings, first one Sept. 14, where VC will come in along with companies they see in a particular segment.

How should advertiser consider Twitter to Facebook? You don’t pay us when someone sees something, only if they engage. Virgin America pays if someone clicks on the link. “The way advertisers should see us as providing a platform for engagement and conversation.”

Other services may declare you have to use your real name because they think they can monetize that better, we’re more interested in serving our users. [Costolo was pressed on why Twitter allows for psuedonyms].

IPO? We just recently raised “more money than I’ve ever seen before.”

Other services may declare you have to use your real name because they think they can monetize that better, we’re more interested in serving our users. [Costolo was pressed on why Twitter allows for psuedonyms].

IPO? We just recently raised “more money than I’ve ever seen before.” Could get good terms, so allows Twitter to remain independent and grow as it wants to.

And that’s it. Here are some stats Twitter sent post conference:

  • We are averaging 230 million tweets a day
    • That’s up 110% from the beginning of this year
    • Another way to think about this is that we are now generating over 5 billion Tweets a month
  • We now have 100 million monthly active users around the world
    • Since Jan 1, 2011, this number has already increased 82%
    • Our active users are now growing faster in 2011 than they did in 2010
    • US growth is neck and neck with overall global growth
    • And, we are on pace to add as many active users in the next 4 months as we added in all of 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 combined (26M)
  • 50 million people (half of our active base) log into Twitter every day
    • In 2011, this number has increased 105%.
  • Over 55% of our active users are mobile users
  • Active users are getting value from content. 
    • 40% of our active users have not tweeted in the last month
  • Over 400 million monthly unique visitors to
    • This number is up almost 70% from the beginning of the year
  • Of those 100 million…
    • Every team in the NFL is on Twitter and more than 50% of NFL players
    • 75% of NBA players
    • 82% of the US Congress and 85% of US Senators
    • 87% of the Billboard Top 100 Musicians of 2010
    • 93% of Food Network chefs
    • 100% of the top 50 Nielsen-rated TV shows

Twitter also has a blog post up with some of the stats.

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Features: General | Live Blogging | Twitter | Twitter: Business Issues


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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