Twitter finally tells brands how many users it has

Twitter said it will stop using the monthly user-base measure in favor of daily active users. AFP  File  LOIC VENANCE

Twitter finally tells brands how many users it has

While that would be up from $665 million a year earlier, the range's midpoint of $745 million sits below the $764.93 million analysts had pencilled, according to Refinitiv. The company's share of the lucrative market is expected to decline this year as rivals like Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google boost their dominance, according to EMarketer.

The number of average monetizable daily active users rose to 126 million in the fourth quarter from 115 million a year ago and 124 million in the previous quarter. The growth rate was also 9 percent in the third quarter and had jumped 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017, the company said.

The company saw a decline in monthly active users, but did start reporting daily active users and showed growth in that metric.

"The falloff in monthly active users is likely a continuation of Twitter's efforts to remove questionable accounts".

After years of withholding the figure, choosing instead to just share its monthly userbase, Twitter reported what it called "monetizable" daily active users in its fourth-quarter earnings report. Twitter also lost 9 million monthly users during Q3. As of this writing, Twitter's pre-market share price is at $31.62, down 7.44% against its Wednesday closing share price of $34.16. The company in 2018 marked its first full year of profitability under generally accepted accounted principles.

Giving some insight into how brand campaigns performed on Twitter, chief executive Jack Dorsey said ad engagements were up 33%, suggesting the "mix shift to video continues" and that "better ad relevance" was driving more interaction with people in the timeline.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said the messaging platform has made strides in becoming profitable and rooting out harassment and abuse. GETTY  AFP  File  David Becker

Unlike Facebook, which has been a strong direct-response performer for years, and Snap, which last year made a successful shift into direct response, Twitter hasn't been able to figure it out.

For its current quarter, Twitter said it expected total revenue to be between $715 million and $775 million.

Those costs could weigh on margins and future earnings, other analysts say. Twitter can't really show that in any significant way, at least not at this stage, and while the switch to addressable audience reach is a more transparent measurement, it also means that Twitter's 126 million active users is now lower than Facebook (1.52b DAU), Instagram (500 million DAU for Stories alone), Snapchat (186 million DAU), and potentially fewer than Reddit, LinkedIn, Pinterest and even Quora on the scale of reach, all of which only provide MAU counts. It makes about 90 per cent of its money from digital advertising.

Shares were down more than 10 percent at $30.56 in midday trading.

Even so, Twitter's stock slid almost 11 per cent in morning trading as investors homed in on the company's declining numbers of monthly users and its revenue forecast for the current quarter.

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