About 14 percent of Twitter’s 271 million users do not log in directly to the mobile app or website, where Twitter features its ads. These 37.9 million consumers instead access Twitter content through third-party apps such as Flipboard, Instagram, Foursquare or various news sources. When Twitter filed its IPO last year, the company projected that the number of people accessing via third-party apps would decline. However, growth of the third-party app population has doubled since then.
“Stripping out the users who never see ads, user growth actually slowed to 3.9 percent from 4.4 percent three months earlier,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “Meanwhile, the growth of people who access Twitter through third-party apps accelerated to 24 percent in the second quarter from 17 percent in the first period. But Twitter gets no revenue from them because Twitter can’t serve ads in third-party apps.”
“To be sure, Twitter has been finding ways to show more types of ads and drawing more dollars per user, especially on mobile phones, and its revenue more than doubled to $312.2 million in the latest quarter.”
Third parties can be helpful to Twitter in the long run, adding content and potential users to the site. For example, when a celebrity posts an Instagram picture and shares it on Twitter, the celebrity’s large amount of followers would then be likely to access the site.
“There are some hints on how Twitter might wring some ad dollars from its third-party users,” notes WSJ. “In late 2013, Flipboard started testing full-page ads for Twitter within its tile that flips through a user’s feed of stories pulled from his or her Twitter account.”