Twitter needs to hatch a new plan as cracks appear in user growth

24 Apr 2019

Image: © juju/

Financially speaking, Twitter is flying high but underlying user numbers show a company still struggling to grow.

Twitter has reported strong first-quarter figures with revenues of $787m, up 18pc on the previous year, and profits of $191m.

That all seems very well when you realise that 330m monthly active users, although up 9m quarter on quarter, are still down 6m compared with a year ago.

‘We are taking an even more proactive approach to reducing abuse on Twitter and its effects in 2019’

A new metric introduced by Twitter, which appears to be painting gloss on the growth egg, is monetisable daily active users, which reached 134m in the quarter, up 11pc on last year.

Markets have responded favourably to the Q1 results, with shares up more than 7pc in pre-market trading.

Learning to fly

So, while Twitter is in rude financial health and is doubling down on earning revenues from what it calls monetisable daily active users, it is still a far from perfect picture – and a bird never flew on one wing.

The social network previously said this will be the final quarter it will be disclosing its monthly active users, preferring to focus on the daily metric. But it still seems to be a small bird flying in a big flock when you think that Facebook has 1.5bn daily active users, Snapchat boasts 186m daily active users and Instagram has an estimated 500m daily active users.

In its letter to shareholders, Twitter said Q1 was a solid start to the year and that it made a number of product improvements, including the launch of a public prototype app designed to make the platform more conversational as well as a new camera to more easily capture what’s happening.

“We are taking an even more proactive approach to reducing abuse on Twitter and its effects in 2019,” the company said. “Improvements in Q1 emphasised proactive detection of rule violations and physical, or off-platform, safety – including making it easier to report tweets that share personal information, helping us remove 2.5 times more of this content since launch.”

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