Forget User Growth, Look At Twitter’s Record Earnings
Twitter adds only 4 million monthly active users in Q4, up 1.4% for the quarter, but revenue was a healthy $479 million.
Wall Street often fixates on Twitter’s slowing growth in monthly users — and today Twitter reported that its user base has never grown more slowly — but the company will likely emphasize a different scoreboard: its accelerating revenue.
And the news there is very positive. Twitter reported fourth quarter revenue of $479 million. That’s 97% higher than last year at this point and a 32% increase over the third quarter. The total also beat Wall Street expectations by about $26 million and gave the company its first $1 billion year with $1.4 billion in 2014 revenue.
Twitter hopes that news will overshadow the fact that it only added 4 million monthly active users in the quarter. The company had 288 million users at the end of 2014, up 20% over the end of 2013 but only up 1.4% over the third quarter.
CEO Dick Costolo said growth this quarter is on track to return to “normal” levels. That would mean between 13 and 16 million. “Early results indicate that the absolute number of net users added in Q1 will be similar to what we saw during the first three quarters of 2014,” Costolo said in a release.
Twitter also reported that timeline views reached 182 billion for the fourth quarter, 23% year-over-year increase. And that ad revenue per thousand timeline views reached $2.37, an increase of 60% year-over-year.
Revenue itself produced Twitter’s most favorable chart, showing a sharp quarterly uptick:
Twitter has working hard to fight the perception that slower user growth is hurting its strength as a business. In November, it spent a full day presenting plans to analysts and in the first weeks of this year, the company has unleashed a flurry of new products and features, including consumer video, group messaging and a way to surface content to users that they may have missed.
It has also been experimenting with an “Instant Timeline” to give new users better content immediately without having to follow anyone. And this week, the company took a step toward monetizing the audience that views tweets off the Twitter network, announcing its first partnerships to sell promoted tweets on third-party sites.
Twitter executives will take questions from analysts in a call today at 5 p.m. ET. You can listen in here.