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Twitter on course for user growth

News, 25 July 2016

NEW YORK: Twitter is due to deliver its latest earnings call on Tuesday and the messaging platform is likely to be encouraged by a new report that forecasts its global user base will increase by 10.9% this year.

That means the number of internet users who access their Twitter account via any device at least once a month will grow to 286.3bn by the end of this year, according to eMarketer.

The research firm's projection of 10.9% growth this year is a modest improvement on the 9.8% increase Twitter saw in 2015, although eMarketer expects its growth rate to slacken over the next four years.

It estimates there will be 8.3% growth in 2017, falling to 7.0% in 2018, 6.0% in 2019, and 4.8% in 2020, when Twitter's global users will total almost 370m people.

Americans currently account for just under one-in-five Twitter users worldwide, but the social network is gaining ground in other countries, particularly in Brazil and India.

With 27.7m users, Brazil currently accounts for Twitter's second largest market, followed by Japan (25.9m) and Mexico (23.5m), but eMarketer forecast that above-average growth in India will take the country past Brazil in 2020 when India is expected to account for 9.6% of all Twitter users around the world.

Debra Aho Williamson, principal analyst at eMarketer, said she expected Twitter to remain "highly relevant" as a real-time communications channel for news and cultural events, and that its move into live streaming will help too.

"As it ramps up live streaming, Twitter is aiming to be just as relevant when it comes to live video," she said. "Both will help Twitter to continue to grow its user base, although it is increasingly being overshadowed by other players, such as Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook Messenger."

Indeed, Twitter's growing focus on live streaming was highlighted last week with the news that it has negotiated a live-streaming partnership with the National Basketball Association for two shows.

These include a weekly pre-game programme and another exclusive show that will air on Twitter ahead of the 2016-17 season.

Data sourced from eMarketer, CNBC; additional content by Warc staff