Twitter Grows User Base to 271 Million, But Says Total Audience Size Is Much Larger

The company reported $312.2 million in revenue in the second quarter and $562.7 million for the first half of 2014.

Twitter's base grew to 271 million monthly active users in the second quarter, a 6% increase from 255 million users in the previous quarter. The social network also added 13 million users on mobile, bringing the total to 211 million users.

However, CEO Dick Costolo notes the size of its audience is "two to three times that of our monthly active user base" because many people visit the social network without being logged in. As a result, he hinted at new logged-out experiences catered to those visitors.

In its earnings release Tuesday, the San Francisco-based company reported $312.2 million in revenue, more than double its top line in the same year-ago period, and a 25% growth from the $250.5 million reaped last quarter. For the first half of 2014, Twitter made $562.7 million in revenue.

By generally accepted accounting principles, Twitter's costs resulted in a loss of $144.6 million, or 24 cents per share, in the second quarter, narrowing its 32 cent loss per share in the same period in 2013.

Twitter reported $277 million in ad revenue, up 23% from the previous quarter's $226 million. "That growth is primarily driven by higher engagement, which translates into improved ROI for our marketers," Costolo said in a call with investors. Driving this growth is mobile, which makes up 81% of total ad revenue. International revenue, spurred by building new product experiences around the World Cup, totaled $102 million, a jump from $70 million last quarter. Timeline views grew to 173 billion in the second quarter, a 10% rise from the preceding quarter. Ad revenue per thousand timeline views jumped to $1.60, up from $1.44 in the first quarter.

At the end of the second quarter, the company introduced app-install ads, which lets users download third-party apps directly from Twitter's mobile app. The ad unit has performed very well for Facebook, driving more than 350 million app installs. Twitter said it will debut a new type of video ad in August.

Twitter revised its outlook for the third quarter, projecting revenue to be between $330 million and $340 million. It expects revenue for the full year of 2014 to hit $1.31 billion to $1.33 billion.

Ahead of the company's call with investors, Twitter encouraged users to tweet questions for Costolo with the hashtag #askcostolo. What it likely didn't anticipate, though, is the number of questions regarding harassment online. Let's see if he addresses any of them. Update: No.

[Image: Flickr user John T Howard]

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