According to Twitter’s financial announcement from Tuesday, April 29, the company has more than doubled its revenue. However, Wall Street was displeased with the slow user number growth, which resulted in stock falling more than 11 percent in the after-hours trading.
Twitter’s Revenue for the first quarter of 2014 was US$250m, thus beating analyst expectations ($241.47m) and scoring an increase of 119% compared to $114m in the same period last year. International revenue was $70m (a year-over-year increase of 183%). Interestingly, the number of mobile monthly active users has reached 198m, representing 78% of all monthly active users. This indicates Twitter is more of a mobile application and less of a desktop based platform.
Despite the over-satisfactory earnings of the company, investors – for whom the number of new users and user engagement are seemingly the metrics that count the most – were dissatisfied with Twitter’s performance. The company only reported a 5% MAUs’ growth (255m at the end of March, up from 241m the previous quarter) which was obviously less than what Wall Street expected and shares went drastically down (over 11%).
For shareholders, other alerting signals were the reported activity decrease (averagely, users refreshed their Twitter feeds 614 times a month, which is less than one year ago), and the fact that the company’s advertising revenue for every 1,000 timeline views has decreased to $1.44 (from $1.49 in the previous quarter).
In an interview, Twitter’s CEO, Dick Costolo, tried to counter these concerns, noting that the two typical Twitter actions which require an extra click from the user, “retweets” and “favorites”, have moved 26% up which is a good sign for user engagement.
Furthermore, Twitter continually takes steps to facilitate existing users and attract new ones by structuring their profile pages similarly to (the way more popular) Facebook, incorporating easier options to add pictures and videos, making the sign-up process for Android users easier, and allowing users to import contacts from the address book of their mobile devices.
In the international aspect, although already enjoying high popularity, the social media has to deal with obstacles uncommon in the U.S. market. Curious instances are Twitter’s temporal ban in Turkey (in March, after Twitter and YouTube showed leaked materials allegedly proving corruption in the inner circles of Turkish government, both websites were blocked), and it being officially and permanently banned in China.