Twitter currently has around 320 million monthly active users, which is a hell of a lot, but that’s only a fraction of its true user base. The problem with measuring Twitter’s user base is that the service’s content is easily accessible to people who aren’t registered with it, and if you were to include the people who don’t have a Twitter account but still use the service on a regular basis, Twitter would have close to one billion monthly active users. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however, as Twitter is working on a way to make money off of the people that don’t actually have Twitter accounts.
Twitter’s user base isn’t growing, at least not significantly, and now the company is ready to hang its hat on a grand theory it has been pitching for more than a year: That it can make money from the millions of people who consume Twitter content but don’t actually have Twitter accounts. Twitter boasts 320 million monthly active users, but it said last week, for example, that its content reaches one billion people per month. This discrepancy matters for one simple reason: Revenue. The larger Twitter’s audience, the more ads it can sell. For nearly 18 months, the idea that Twitter could make money off these logged-out content consumers has been presented as a potential revenue stream. Now it’s about to be tested for real. One of the nuggets from Twitter’s Q3 earnings call Tuesday was a brief mention by COO and revenue chief Adam Bain that Twitter plans to start monetizing its logged-out user base on Twitter as part of a new pilot program sometime this quarter. “We also are monetizing logged-out users across the network,” Bain said, referring to ads Twitter sells on third-party apps through services like MoPub. “This is the first time that we’ve been doing that. It’s going to come in handy as we also begin to run a pilot here in Q4 for on-Twitter logged out monetization. So we’re going to take some of those learnings and apply it back to Twitter logged-out products.”