February 17, 2019

Twitter shares plunge 10% after disappointing revenue forecast

10 February 2019, 12:11 | Joann Bryant

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

Twitter released the figures as part of its fourth-quarter earnings report.

Twitter's profit in the fourth quarter increased to $255.3 million, or 33 cents a share, from $91.1 million, or 12 cents a share, a year earlier, added the Dow Jones report supplied to EFE.

"2018 is proof that our long-term strategy is working", Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive, said in a statement. Furthermore, he said the company is finding ways to make Twitter conversations easier to follow as a core differentiation factor.

It's not completely clear why Twitter chose now to reveal this number, as usually it only announces its monthly active users, which for the previous quarter was 321 million. And the switch to a monetisable daily user count enables Twitter to put a more positive spin on how it's doing, but even there, Twitter is giving off the impression that it's trying to paint a rosier picture than reality-at least when it comes to the competition.

Twitter attributed the drop in MAUs to its purge of fake accounts, trolls, and hate mongers from its platform, and claims it's seen a 16% drop in abuse reports from the year-ago quarter.

Increased spending is a common theme across social media companies, including Facebook and Google, as they double down on efforts to clean up their respective platforms, Summit Insights analyst Jonathan Kees said.

"We have continuing concerns about users and growth", said Scott Kessler of the research firm CFRA.

Twitter beat on both the top and bottom lines. Advertisers come to Twitter because we have one of the most valuable audiences when they are most receptive, and we generate a high return on investment against their campaign objectives whether they are launching a new product or connecting with what's happening on Twitter.

Markets also appeared unsettled by a weaker-than-expected revenue outlook for the current quarter and rising expenses.

Q4 was the fifth quarter in a row that the social network reported a profit, with revenue of US$909 million and 31 cents earnings per share, however, its shares tumbled approximately 8% in premarket trading as the social network forecasts a less successful 2019.

"The falloff in monthly active users is likely a continuation of Twitter's efforts to remove questionable accounts".

Twitter's number of daily active users rose 9 percent in the fourth quarter to 126 million.

Twitter's stock fell $3.53, or 10.4 percent, to $30.62. The company's 126 million daily users falls below that of other social media companies like Snapchat, which has 186 million DAU, and isn't in the same stratosphere as Facebook, which has more than 1.5 billion people logging in each day.

For the first time, we now have an idea of the number of monetizable Twitter daily users; that is, the number of people who log in to Twitter each day and potentially view an advertisement.

A tweet by the company said the focus on health and safety remains a priority.

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