Friday, 22 February, 2019

Twitter beats Q4 profit estimates but active users decline

Twitter sign is draped on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange before its IPO in New York. — AP Twitter sign is draped on the facade of the New York Stock Exchange before its IPO in New York. — AP
Orlando Vargas | 08 February, 2019, 18:15

It's possible the company made a decision to do so because the daily active user number went up year over year while the number of monthly users went down. For the first time, we now know the average number of daily users found on Twitter during a three month period of time.

Looking forward to the first quarter, Twitter expects revenue to be $715 million to $775 million which is short of the $764.9 million the Street expected.

Those higher costs could eat into Twitter's future earnings, some analysts said. Analysts had expected 25 cents, on average, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Twitter earned 31 cents per share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $909 million.

However, higher operating operating expenses are expected to cut into Twitter's margins and profits "considerably" this year, Clement Thibault, analyst at global financial platform Investing.com, wrote in an email to Barron's.

The increase in daily user numbers is a positive for driving revenues from more engaged users.

But due to a recent decline in monthly active users - partly due to the social media firm's crackdown on fake accounts - Twitter chose to reveal its daily active users and will no longer be publishing monthly active user figures.

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"We want to align our external stakeholders around one metric that reflects our goal of delivering value to people on Twitter every day and monetising that usage".

Total advertising revenue surged 23 percent to $791 million in the fourth quarter, with more than half coming from video ads by corporate clients.

Twitter Inc forecast first-quarter revenue that was below analyst estimates on Thursday and said the number of users fell in the fourth quarter, sending its shares down 6 percent in premarket trading. $791 million of that figure comes from advertising revenue, split $425 million in the U.S. compared to $366 internationally - while data licensing making up the other $117 million.

The number of average daily active users exposed to Twitter ads, a new figure disclosed by the company, rose to 126 million in the fourth quarter from 115 million a year ago and 124 million in the previous quarter.

Twitter has made its first annual profit in its 13-year history but another fall in the number of its users and a disappointing sales forecast took the gloss off the results and sent its shares down almost 10 per cent.

Twitter dropped once again in monthly active users, from 326 million in Q3 to 321 million in Q4.

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