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Twitter numbers flatlined in Q4, despite advertiser growth, but it will focus on ‘live’ to restore its fortunes

Twitter reported its latest quarterly earnings today (10 February), with its monthly active user (MAU) base – 320 million – largely unchanged compared to the previous quarter, but its leadership has been keen to highlight its turnaround plan.

Twitter’s revenue for the last quarter of 2015 totalled $710m, an increase of 48 per cent year-on-year, with the social network also reporting that ad revenue rose 53 per cent during the period, with “data licensing” revenue accounting for $70m during Q4 2015.

However, MAUs, excluding SMS users, grew 9 per cent year-on-year to 305 million, were down in comparison to the previous quarter from 307 million, this is a crucial period for the outfit, which is typically a period when advertiser spend is at its height. With the social network also reporting that mobile MAUs represented 80 per cent of this total, according to the filing.

Although, Twitter was quick to point out that the total number of advertisers active on the social network increased by 90 per cent during the period, contributing $641m in Q4, with mobile advertising accounting for 86 per cent of this total. Further analysis revealed that international revenue totalled $247m during the quarter, with US advertisers contributing $463m to total revenues.

During the earnings call, CEO Jack Dorsey told analysts the social network would focus on growing its user base, plus improve retention rates. This strategy will rest upon five pillars: refining its core service by; focusing on being a forum to witness and participate in live events via video; give users better tools to connect with audiences; make Twitter safer; and work with developers to make Twitter a better partner.

“We spent the last six months structuring the organisation and our leadership team to move with greater agility and focus, reviewing the state of our service and strategy, learning from what we've shipped, and developing a stronger point of view about what we are and what we want to be,” said Dorsey. “In January we gathered our global leadership team to align and commit to a strategy for 2016.

Twitter’s leadership said it had seen an increase in new users, plus an increase in the amount of reactivated dormant accounts during the quarter, during the previous 12 months, adding that it would continue to build a “full stack experience” to make sure this trajectory scales further.

A more comprehensive breakdown of the numbers can be read here.