Twitter user count and revenue grow beyond expectations, shares surge

Twitter on phoneTwitter’s user base is slowly creeping back up toward its previous highs, as the company reported monthly active users (MAUs) for the final time. The microblogging platform’s MAUs grew from 321m in Q4 2018 to 330m in the first quarter of 2019, beating expectations and sending shares up by around 15 per cent.

Despite its user base rebounding, users are still down on the 336m reported this time last year. Meanwhile, monetizable daily active users – the metric that Twitter will focus on solely going forward – grew to 134m for Q1 2019, compared to the 120m in Q1 2018 and the 126m in Q4 2018.

On the financial front, revenue was up 18 per cent year-on-year, totalling $787m. Within this, advertising revenue also grew by the same amount to $679m and total ad engagements increased by 23 per cent.

“It is encouraging that Twitter has managed to improve its monetisation and grow revenue. In the last quarter, we’ve seen Twitter focus heavily on its data business, which is a smart move that will continue to grab businesses’ attention and help to further grow revenue,” said Yuval Ben-Itzhak, Socialbakers CEO. “Twitters data is hugely valuable for marketers, who can tap into the data insights in order to better understand their audiences. Therefore, brands are willing to pay extra for this data on top of their ad spend. This data monetisation strategy should continue to serve Twitter well.”

“The first quarter is always a big one for Twitter given its role as the default second-screen for tentpole events like the Super Bowl and Oscars,” said Aaron Goldman, 4C Insights CMO. “The fact that performance was so strong shows that it also benefited from outsized budget allocation in the annual planning cycle. In particular, we’re seeing great success with video on Twitter and our advertisers are adopting these formats as a core part of their cross-channel mix. For Q1 2019, we saw double-digit increases year-over-year on Twitter video ad budgets.”

Costs and expenses for the quarter also jumped 18 per cent, reaching $693m. As a result, operating income for the quarter was $94m.

Looking ahead, Twitter expects to achieve revenue of between $770m and $830m with an operating income of between $35m and $70m for the second quarter of the year.

“We’re delivering strong results with ad revenue up 18 per cent year-over-year, demonstrating Twitter’s unique value proposition for advertisers as the best place to launch something new or connect with what’s happening,” said Ned Segal, Twitter’s CFO. “We’ve never been more confident in our strategy and execution and see a great opportunity to grow our audience and deliver even more value for advertisers.”