Video helps Twitter Q4 revenues soar but user numbers dip

8 Feb 2019

Twitter app on a smartphone. Image: dimarik/Depositphotos

Financially speaking, Twitter is flying high. But user numbers tell a different story.

Social networking platform Twitter has reported Q4 revenues of $909m, up 24pc on last year, with a net income of $244m, beating analyst expectations.

However, the company reported a slight slump in monthly active users to 321m, below estimates, and down from 326m in the third quarter.

‘We will continue to prioritise the health of the public conversation on Twitter’

Despite this, the company is not entirely flying on a broken wing as the other numbers look promising.

It reported a 16pc year-on-year decrease in abuse reports and it said that enforcement on reported content was three times more effective.

Video now more than half of Twitter ad revenue

Total advertising revenue was up 23pc to $791m. Video advertising continues to be the company’s fastest-growing format, with video accounting for more than half of ad revenue for Q4 and 2018 as a whole. Data licensing revenue was up 35pc to $117m.

Cashflow at Twitter is healthy, with net cash from operations at $1.3bn, up 61pc on last year.

The company grew its worldwide headcount by 550 employees (16pc) to more than 3,900 employees.

“We’re attracting great people to Twitter who believe in our purpose, and we’re driving investments in our highest-priority areas: health, conversation, revenue products and sales, and our platform,” CEO Jack Dorsey said in a letter to shareholders.

Crucially, Dorsey said that a key priority remains curbing abuse on the platform and allowing healthier conversation to flourish.

“In 2019 we will take a more proactive approach to reducing abuse and its effects on Twitter, with the goal of reducing the burden on victims of abuse and, where possible, taking action before abuse is reported.

“Our initial focus will be on those types of abuse most likely to result in severe and immediate harm. We will also continue to strengthen our login and sign-up processes to make it more challenging for bad actors to take advantage of accounts for abusive or malicious purposes.

“We will continue to prioritise the health of the public conversation on Twitter so people feel safe being a part of the conversation and are able to find credible information on our service.”

Looking ahead to Q1 2019, Twitter predicts revenues of between $715m and $775m.

Twitter app on a smartphone. Image: dimarik/Depositphotos

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