Twitter hatched a plan and it worked a tweet in Q1

25 Apr 2018

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Image: JD Lasica/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Social media high-flyer Twitter has reported the second profitable quarter in the company’s history.

They say a bird never flew on one wing, but Twitter appears to be firing on all cylinders after reporting a 21pc jump in revenues to $664.9m.

This is the biggest jump in sales that the company has reported in two years.

Future Human

The social network also reported that monthly active users rose to 336m, up 6m on the previous quarter.

It reported a profit of $61m in the first three months of 2018, a considerable turnaround from the loss of $62m at the same time last year.

“The first quarter was a strong start to the year,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter CEO and co-founder.

“We grew our audience and engagement, marking another quarter of double-digit year-over-year DAU growth, and continued our work to make it easier to follow topics, interests and events on Twitter.”

So, what is Twitter doing right after years of stagnant growth?

Well, for years, even the most ardent supporters of Twitter (its users) could never understand why the company had been floundering because the network has always had something magical about it.

And that’s just it: Twitter appears to have done some soul-searching and evaluated what works and doesn’t work.

Why are the numbers finally adding up for Twitter?

This self-examination has prompted new products and services.

In Q1 2018, Twitter reported that new channels and services were on the rise. For example, 1,300 live events were streamed to a global audience.

The company focused on making Twitter easier to use with the launch of a new Bookmarks feature and video timestamps, as well as making it easier for users to follow topics, interests and events, including curated timelines of tweets around breaking news events.

The stickiness works. The company revealed that ad revenue totalled $575m in Q1, up 21pc year on year, while data licensing and other revenues were up 20pc to $90m during the quarter.

Total ad engagements were up 69pc while the cost per engagement fell 28pc.

Dorsey confirmed that by digging deep and unearthing the magic in its network, the company has turned a corner.

“We also introduced a new framework to think more cohesively about the issues affecting our service, including information quality and safety.

“This holistic approach will help us more effectively address these challenges by viewing them through the broader lens of the health of the public conversation, and we’re encouraged by our initial progress in this area.”

CFO Ned Segal said that it was all in the execution.

“We grew total revenue 21pc year over year and owned-and-operated advertising revenue 28pc year over year, driven by continued audience growth, differentiated ad product features, improved return on investment and better sales execution. Our strong revenue performance drove better-than-expected profits and GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) net margins of 9pc, reflecting our continued prioritisation and disciplined execution across our strategic priorities.”

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Image: JD Lasica/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years