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Twitter Monthly Active Users Drop to 321 Million, Video Ad Sales Surge
10 February 2019, 12:11 | Hattie Nash
Twitter says abuse reports have fallen by 16 percent
Fourth-quarter sales increased 24% to US$908.8 million, beating analysts' average estimate of US$867.1 million.
The social media company said monthly active users declined, partly because it deleted millions of abusive accounts following criticism the platform was being used for political manipulation and hate speech.
Twitter earned 31 cents per share in the fourth quarter on revenue of $909 million. With Twitter's total ad engagements surging 50% and cost per engagement sinking 14% throughout Q3, the platform is seeming ever more attractive to advertisers looking for high return on spend.
Twitter will stop reporting its monthly users, the metric it has disclosed for years, after the current quarter.
Analysts, on average, projected US$766.1 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The company in 2018 marked its first full year of profitability under generally accepted accounted principles. As of 3.15pm United Kingdom time, Twitter's share price was down more than 10% from yesterday's close.
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"2018 is proof that our long-term strategy is working", Jack Dorsey, Twitter's chief executive, said in a statement.
"We have to make Twitter more conversational", he said.
Twitter's monthly user base slipped 9 million year-over-year, according to the company's fiscal fourth-quarter results, which were released Thursday. Instagram alone had 500 million daily active users in 2017 (the most recent data we could find) and is most likely getting even more than that today.
Twitter has said it identified much less manipulation on its service during the 2018 US midterm elections from bad-faith actors located overseas than two years earlier during the presidential campaign.
Twitter said it would stop using the monthly user base measure and instead report "monetizable" daily active users in the USA and worldwide, a better reflection of the audience viewing ads.
Compared to analysts' expectation of $764.9 Mn, Twitter predicts its first quarter revenue for 2019 to fall within the range of $715 Mn to $775 Mn.
Operating expenses are expected to surge about 20 percent year-on-year in 2019, the company said, due to efforts to improve the health of its platform, exceeding analysts' average estimate of 12 percent.
It expects capital expenditures to be between $550 million and $600 million, well above analysts' average estimate of $415 million for 2019. The shares closed down $3.36 to $30.80 in regular trading, and dropped an additional 4 cents a share in after hours trading.
Jasmine Enberg of the research firm eMarketer said the results were nonetheless positive.
Monthly active users fell slightly for the second quarter in a row to 321 million, but Twitter vaunted growth of 9% in daily active users year on year to 126 million. We considered changing our disclosure to be comparable to other companies, but our goal was not to disclose the largest daily active user number we could.
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