In its latest earnings call, Twitter reported better-than-expected results, but the troublesome number that stood out was a loss of 2 million monthly active users in the United States, even after a post-Donald Trump bump last quarter.
The global user base was unchanged, sitting at 328m — the same as the previous quarter.
In a letter to shareholders, the network said that user growth for the quarter was offset by what they termed, cryptically, as “lower seasonal benefits and other factors” without elaborating.
In an attempt to offset the generally bad monthly user news, CEO Jack Dorsey and CFO Anthony Noto focused on the growth of daily active users, which they claimed has risen 12% year-over-year but lagged by 14% from last quarter. In the US, using that metric, Noto said that Twitter grew by 9% in the US and that the company continues to see stable growth — despite the fact that there was not a specific daily user breakdown shared on the call.
Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser noted that there is not huge concern for the trend, with Twitter being a more niche platform. However, a more ominous observation indicated that its user base had reached its apex: “We consider its user base to have plateaued,” he said.
Despite a bright spot in earnings of $574m (analysts had projected $568m), ad revenue continued its slide, down 8% year-over-year. However, it was reported that ad engagement (clicks and views) jumped 95%.
Twitter is continuing to bet on video and live as part of its growth — building partnerships with various media partners and sports leagues and entertainment companies to broadcast news, live games and music events. It was reported that over 1,200 hours of live premium video in 625 events was consumed by 55m unique viewers over the quarter.
The company continues to tinker with the product, recently introducing a new redesign — and has launched a well-received marketing campaign, “See Every Side,” led by global group creative director Jayanta Jenkins, designed to help tell the product story in a more focused and targeted way and establish a unique brand voice.
On the safety front, Twitter reported 25% fewer abuse reports and a 10-fold increase in the number of abusive accounts they take action on each day compared to the same time last year adding that “we now limit account functionality or place suspensions on thousands more abusive accounts each day.”