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Twitter overhauls sign-in process to attract new users

Twitter looks to reverse user growth problems it has seen in recent quarters

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
August 30, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/38e3

User numbers have been a sore spot for Twitter since it went public in November of last year. The company has seen its stock repeatedly slammed for slowing growth. CEO Dick Costolo has tried to paint it as something temporary, and has pledged to make the reversal of the trend one of the company's top priorities.

So where to begin? The sign up page seems like a good place.

Twitter has just updated the sign-up process on its homepage for the first time in three years, according to a Tweet put out by Christian Oestlien, Senior Director of Product Management at Twitter, on Friday. The process, he said, took months to complete.

So what exactly is new here?

First, while Twitter used to kick off the sign-up process by suggesting accounts that the user might want to follow from different genres, like music and sports, now it actually asks what those users are interested in, according to the Wall Street Journal. That can be anything from fashion to photography to news.

Then, when it has a better idea of what the user will want to to actually see, it will make suggestions. 

Also, it no longer just shows new users the profile photos of those accounts it is suggesting, but also a sample tweet, so the user has a clearer idea of whether or not they want to follow that account. 

In addition, user used to have to select which accounts they wanted to follow, but now Twitter makes its suggestion and the user has to deselect the ones they don’t want to follow. 

Overall, the new layout is cleaner and the ability to see a suggested account’s sample tweet before committing to follow them is nice. But Twitter is basing a lot on its suggestions – if the first round of suggestions aren’t relevant or helpful, it doesn’t appear to replace them with further suggestions. Although, once signed up, Twitter does frequently suggest other accounts to follow based on who you’ve previously followed, what you’ve tweeted or search history.

What this is designed to do is to make the process of signing up cleaner, easier and more enticing.

Twitter user numbers

While Twitter had been slammed for its user numbers, recently it did show some signs of turn around in that department.

In the second quarter of 2014, the company saw its average monthly active users (MAUs) grow 24% year to year, and 6% quarter to quarter, to reach 271 million. Mobile MAUs increased 29% year to year, and 7% quarter to quarter, to 211 million. Mobile MAUs represented 78% of the company's total MAUs.

It was able to beat expectations, as analysts had expected MAUs to grow at 21%.

But problems still loom: according to a report from eMarketer in May, Twitter is expected to see its user numbers grow by 24.4%, down from 30.4% last year.

And it only gets worse from there: while the company will have roughly 400 million users by 2018, by that point the company's growth will have slowed to a mere 10.7%. That means that, including this year, Twitter has five years left of double digit before it really started to peter out. In other words, it is highly unlikely, if not impossible, for the company will ever be able to match Facebook's 1.25 billion active users. In fact, it will be lucky to get half of that.

In other words, Twitter needs to do everything it can to get new users onto the site. Making the sign-up process better is a good first step, but Twitter needs to do a lot more. 

VatorNews has reached out to Twitter for more information, and we will update if we learn more. 

(Image source: Twitter.com)


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