Twitter's target audience: literally anyone

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Twitter is still eating it. Two months after firing its CEO, the company reported Tuesday that it had added just 2 million adjusted monthly active in its second quarter, the worst quarterly showing ever.


Twitter's executives repeatedly acknowledged the most common complaints with the service, and the substantial task they have ahead of them, on the company's earnings call Tuesday afternoon.

"The product remains difficult to use," CFO Anthony Noto said, and adding that "We must communicate to users better why they should use Twitter."

That honesty wasn't enough for traders, who sent shares of the company down 9 percent in after-hours trading.

Analysts on the earnings call were eager to try to figure out where the company is heading — like how the new CEO search is going — but didn't get much by way of specific answers.

Perhaps the clearest example of this came when one analyst asked if there was any particular demographic the company was going to drill down into to add users.

Noto's response: Not really.

Instead, he said, they remain committed to hitting a "broad base" and reaching a "mass market."


That may strike some as surprising. The automatic response among almost any these days is young adults, or if you must, "millennials."

In the past two weeks alone, for instance, 10 different companies, ranging from Tupperware to Canada's largest telecom company to the Cheesecake Factory have said they are trying to attract more of them.


Of course, pursuing the group may not be the right strategy for these companies either.

So to simply say you're hoping to target literally everyone is a surprising strategy.


It may be the company is simply acknowledging that this group has previously expressed lower interest in using its service. Recent Pew data show usage among teens was tied with Google+, which Google just killed off.

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On the other hand, several thousand people just attended Vidcon, an annual conference featuring dozens of stars of Vine — which Twitter owns — and other young online content creators. While official attendance numbers for this past week's event haven't been released yet, year-over-year attendance growth is likely to remain well in double-digit percentages.

Clearly Twitter's execs weren't saying they're abandoning young users. (And interim CEO Jack Dorsey did acknowledge a suggestion from the world's most influential (though cusp agewise) millennial, Kim Kardashian, in a recent Twitter exchange.


But to have such an ill-defined target audience makes it seem like their problems may continue.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.