Wednesday morning, Twitter held its shareholders meeting for Q1 2017 results. Pointing to the changes it introduced to fight abusive accounts, pulling @names from a Tweet’s character count, and building out an API were all reported as contributing factors for monthly active user growth. A key area that may have contributed to the 9 million new users seen in Q1 was the vocal political leaders on the platform like President Donald Trump.
The official Twitter shareholder letter today attributed the large bump in users to the new changes the platform. While introducing updates to make Twitter safer all around, the company saw less abuse reported across the service as a whole. The mention of political leaders contributing to the rise in users wasn’t shared in the letter, but rather on the call by Twitter’s current COO and CFO, Anthony Noto.
On the call Noto explained, “There also is some evidence that we’ve benefitted from our new and resurrected users following more news and political accounts in Q1, particularly in the U.S.” Any Twitter user knows that President Donald Trump continues to be one of the most vocal on the platform. Recode postulates that the engagement he brought could potentially be the reason Twitter’s growth.
Noto continues, “We believe Twitter is the best at showing you what’s happening in the world and what’s being talked about. Having political leaders of the world as well as news agencies participating and driving that is an important element to reinforcing what we’re the best at.”
User growth in Q1 may have been strong, but Twitter has rigorous plans to continue growth. After seeing a successful joint-venture in airing the Thursday night NFL games, Twitter wants to move forward and build on live video. Unfortunately, Twitter lost the deal to air those live Thursday night games to Amazon, and as a result they’ve turned their attention to other sports.
Buzzfeed News shared Noto’s thoughts, “We have a really big audience when there’s a pay-per-view UFC match. Should we provide that content to the audience on Twitter that’s not watching it, but might like to after seeing tweets about it? That’s something we’d consider.”
By pushing for new and engaging video, Noto hopes that Twitter can become a source of always-on background video. In regards to that, Noto said that video could be a way to “focus in on it when you hear something that’s of interest, but then maybe not be 100% focused on it when it’s not of interest. I did that myself during the debates.”