Twitter just released its fourth quarter earnings and it’s not looking good.
Its shares were down as much as 13% after reporting no user growth, despite an earnings beat.
But Twitter has a plan to improve its service, and it shared some of it in a letter to shareholders posted on its website.
In it, the company laid out the following 5 priorities it will focus on this year to drive further growth:
Refinement of core service: Fix some of the broken parts, like the “[email protected] syntax” rules, and improve the timeline to show the most relevant tweets to its users. It also wants to make it easier for new users too.
Live streaming video: Invest heavily in expanding its live video streaming capabilities, leveraging some of its existing products like Periscope.
Creators and influencers: Focus on its most creative and influential users, like musicians and journalists, and help them expand their reach through things like Vine and Moments.
Safety: Work on safety measures to encourage freedom of expression and prevent online harassment, and implement technology to detect the use of abusive language.
Developers: Continue to invest in developers to make Twitter easier and faster to use.
Here’s the full text from the shareholder letter:
We have five priorities in 2016 to serve this focus: refinement of our core service; live streaming video; our creators and influencers; safety; and developers. Each is critical to us strengthening our platform and audience around live.
First, Twitter is an iconic service and a globally recognised brand. We are going to fix the broken windows and confusing parts, like the [email protected] syntax and @reply rules, that we know inhibit usage and drive people away. We’re going to improve the timeline to make sure you see the best Tweets, while preserving the timeliness we are known for. The timeline improvement we announced just this morning has grown usage across the board (including Tweeting and Retweeting). We’re going to improve onboarding flows to make sure you easily find both your contacts and your interests. We’re going to make Tweeting faster while making Tweets more expressive with both text and visual media. We’re going to help people come together around a particular topic, such as our @NBA timelines experiences. Relentlessly refining Twitter will enable more people to get more out of Twitter faster.
Second, we have amazing technology for live streaming video. Periscope lets anyone on the planet broadcast and watch video live with others. We recently added the ability to broadcast from a GoPro camera, and to watch any broadcast live from a Tweet. Pairing Periscope with Twitter gives broadcasters greater distribution (anywhere a Tweet can be displayed, a Periscope can too) and the ability to hook into our revenue products. We believe live streaming video is a strong complement to the live nature of Twitter, and it helps instantly explain the value of our service. We’re going to invest heavily in these first-screen, connected audience experiences. Being able to instantly broadcast and watch a live stream with others is extremely powerful and entertaining.
Third, Twitter is by far the fastest way to talk with the world. And because of that, we have the most creative and influential people and organisations in the world actively Tweeting. Whether it’s musicians releasing albums or polling people to help name their albums, journalists Tweeting their stories and getting feedback, artists, activists, athletes, and politicians, established or emerging — these are the people who shape and influence culture, and they bring the audience that follows through Twitter. And we love them! Vine and Niche have proven their ability to create new talent and match them with marketers to make a living from their passion. We will focus on helping these creators build and connect 4 with their fans and audience through Twitter by giving them better tools. And we’re going to enable more people and media partners to create and share Moments, which is proving to be a great medium for storytelling through Tweets.
Fourth, we will continue to invest more resources in making our platform safer. We stand for freedom of expression, and people must feel safe in order to speak freely. Online harassment and abuse is a difficult challenge. This year we will implement technology to help us detect the use of repeat abusive accounts, make it much simpler to report multiple abusive Tweets or accounts, and give people simpler tools to curate and control their experience on Twitter. But it’s not just about creating better tools and technology; we will also be smart and adaptive about our policies in this area and invest in faster response times. Finally, we’re going to emphasise educating people about our safety tools and features as we roll them out.
Fifth, we’re going to continue to invest in developers. We want developers to be able to build their businesses with Twitter. We are investing in mobile with Fabric, our platform that helps developers build, grow, and make money with their apps. Fabric has grown from 0 to 1.6 billion active mobile devices in just 18 months. We believe there’s huge strategic value in building a platform for developers that helps us grow our reach. We are investing in making it easy for developers to discover, curate, and seamlessly publish great, live stories with Twitter content using TweetDeck, Curator, and embedded Tweets. More than one billion visitors to our developers’ sites and apps already see these embedded Tweets every month. We believe that these sites and apps are incredibly important amplifiers that show the huge reach and importance of Tweets. Finally, we will continue to invest in helping developers make their businesses more productive by understanding their customers and markets with Twitter data.
After months of consideration, we’ve made significant changes to our organisation to ensure more disciplined execution. We moved all of Engineering, Design, and Consumer Product under our CTO Adam Messinger. This is a new structure for our company, and we will take an engineering and design led approach to making Twitter faster and more intuitive. We moved Revenue product, our Media team, and Human Resources to our COO Adam Bain. We promoted Kayvon Beykpour, the lead for Periscope, to our executive team. Kayvon brings a very strong product sense to the table to make everything we do at Twitter better. And we added Leslie Berland to our executive team as CMO to help us better show the power of Twitter. Our top priority is to recruit phenomenal leadership who bring a fresh and creative perspective and help us recruit more great talent.
Our focus on live is a unique reason to use Twitter to quickly see what’s happening in the world and talk about it. That creates a connected audience unlike any other, which continues to grow our business in a complementary way.
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