Twitter on Tuesday reported its third-quarter earnings, revealing strong revenue growth but a minimal increase in its user base. During a call with investors, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey discussed how the recent launch of Moments, a curated section of Twitter that organizes tweets into narratives around breaking news events, is part of a changing long-term strategy at Twitter.
"Moments represents a real shift in our thinking," Dorsey said during the call. "It questions the reverse chronological timeline. Moments is a bold new experience that I think does question a lot of our fundamentals. Moments is one piece that makes all of Twitter better and easier to understand. There will be many more pieces to come over the next year."
Dorsey's focus on the new Moments feature during Tuesday's call is a continuation of a theme that dominated the company's previous earnings report. During Twitter's Q2 earnings call, held in July, then-interim CEO Dorsey and CFO Anthony Noto acknowledged that the company was struggling with how to market itself and with attracting and retaining users. "Non-users continue to ask, 'Why should I use Twitter?'" Noto said at the time. "The product remains too difficult to use. We need to simplify the product so everyone can get value from Twitter faster." Dorsey suggested then that the platform would continue to move away from its strictly 140-character, chronological format. "You will see us continue to question the reverse chronological timeline," Dorsey said.
The introduction of Moments earlier this month is part of Twitter's larger strategy to increase its user growth, which has been sluggish compared with the exponential growth seen by competitors Facebook and Snapchat. Since the same period last year, Twitter's user base grew just 8%, to a total of 307 million monthly active users worldwide (excluding SMS fast followers).
Twitter reported that its third-quarter revenue was $569 million, up 58% from the same period last year. Most of that revenue ($513 million) came from advertising. Mobile ads made up 86% of total advertising revenue.
In Twitter's future, Dorsey said, are "more bold experiences that speak to patterns we've seen on Twitter since day one." Dorsey, who cofounded Twitter in 2006 and is also CEO of payments company Square, declined to give more specific details about his long-term plan for reinvigorating Twitter. He hinted at two "pretty bold" forthcoming initiatives that would strengthen Twitter communities and improve customer service interactions on the platform.