Twitter beat Wall Street financial expectations for fourth-quarter 2018, but the company’s stock fell on a weak Q1 revenue outlook — and after Twitter said it’s going to stop reporting monthly user counts, in favor of “monetizable” daily active users.
The social network’s Q4 revenue totaled 909 million, up 24% year-over-year, with video ads again representing more than half of its ad sales. It was the fifth quarter in a row Twitter reported a profit: Net income was 255 million, versus 91 million in the year-ago period, or adjusted earnings per share of 31 cents. Analysts on average expected revenue of 869.5 million and adjusted EPS of 25 cents.
For the first quarter of 2019, Twitter expects total revenue to be between 715million and 775 million (compared with the Wall Street consensus estimate of 762 million), with operating income of 5 million-35 million. That disappointed investors, with Twitter’s stock dropping as much as 8% in premarket trading.
Twitter also is changing the user metrics it reports to Wall Street, and will report only “average monetizable daily active users,” or “mDAU,” in the future. That’spartly because its daily active user base continues to grow — while monthly user counts have stalled or declined, as Twitter continues to purge fake and other suspect accounts.
For the fourth quarter, Twitter reported 126 million mDAU, compared with 115 million in the same period of the previous year and 124 million in Q3 of 2018. Average monthly active users for Q4 fell 5 million sequentially to 321 million, which is down from 330 million in the year-earlier period.
In announcing the decision to disclose monetizable daily active users, Twitter said, “We want to align our external stakeholders around one metric that reflects our goal of delivering value to people on Twitter every day and monetizing that usage.”
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey claimed the full-year 2018 results are proof the company’s long-term strategy is working.
“Our efforts to improve health have delivered important results, and new product features like a single switch to move between latest and most relevant tweets have been embraced by the people who use Twitter,” Dorsey wrote in announcing the Q4 results. “We enter this year confident that we will continue to deliver strong performance by focusing on making Twitter a healthier and more conversational service.”
Twitter ended 2018 with over 3,900 employees, growing its global headcount by 16% (or nearly550 employees).
More to come.
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