Social networking and media platform Twitter today reported its results for the first quarter of the year, and it’s a strong one. The company said that revenues came in at $787 million, up 18 percent on a year ago; with net income of $191 million and earnings per share of $0.25. However, monthly active users continue to paint a challenging picture (no surprise that they are a dying metric for the company). Twitter says MAUs were 330 million in Q1, a drop of 6 million users on a year ago, although up 9 million on last quarter.
Monetizable daily active users — Twitter’s new and preferred metric for user numbers — were 28 million in the quarter, up 8 percent on the 26 million a year ago, and up 6 percent on last quarter’s 27 million.
Still, on the financial side, this is a strong set of results for the company. Going into today, average analyst expectations were for Twitter to post about $775 million in sales ($742-$815 million range) on an EPS of $0.15 per share ($0.10-$0.20 range). Twitter itself last quarter said it expected Q1 revenues to be between just $715 million and $775 million, with operating income between $5 million and $35 million.
With those numbers relatively stabilised, Twitter is putting more focus on trying to improve its actual product in the two areas where it has been considered weak: the ability for people to use Twitter when it gets noisy and active; and the general “health” of content management, around harassment and fake news. For the former, it’s been tinkering with a prototype app, and for the latter, it’s been adding more rules that it is proactively enforcing, which it says has led to “helping [Twitter] remove 2.5 times more of this content since launch.”
This is also the last quarter that Twitter is reporting monthly active users, as makes a switch instead to reporting “mDAUs”, or monetizeable daily active users, which it claims is a more accurate representation of how the business is growing. MAUs have not been a great metric for the company over the years, with one of Twitter’s strongest criticisms being that its user growth is stagnating. Given that the platform has a strong surge of usage around specific events, the average usage on days will work out stronger than that of usage on a monthly period.
Last quarter, while reporting a relatively strong set of Q4 earnings, we noted that Twitter’s stock dropped on that weak guidance, which represented a big drop from Q4 at a time (Q1) when many expect Twitter to report its strongest numbers.
As a point of comparison, a year ago in Q1 2018, Twitter posted revenues of $665 million, on an EPS of $0.16 per share, both blowing past Wall Street estimates with sales up 21 percent year-on-year.
More to come.