Twitter Operating Profit Meets Lower User Growth Metrics

Jon C. Ogg

Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) is out with earnings, and the numbers look very impressive on the surface. The problem is that there are some serious caveats for growth ahead and user metrics.

Earnings came in at a gain of $0.02 per share on an adjusted basis, and revenue grew by 116% to $243 million. Thomson Reuters was calling for earnings to be a loss of -$0.02 per share on revenues of $217.8 million.

Before you think that Twitter is profitable, its net loss of $511 million translates to a loss of -$1.41 per share. Still, the company did end 2013 with about $2.2 billion in cash and liquidity.

Another issue is that average monthly active users came up 30% to 241 million. CNBC had been throwing around a consensus of closer to 250 million ahead of the report. Mobile monthly active users rose 37% to 184 million.  Advertising revenue up 121% to $220 million, and mobile advertising revenue was over 75% of the total revenue. Advertising revenue per thousand timeline views reached $1.49 in the fourth quarter of 2013, an increase of 76% year-over-year.

Twitter did give guidance, as follows:

  • March quarter revenues of $230 to $240 million, versus $215.2 million expected;
  • Full 2014 revenue of $1.15 to $1.20 billion, versus $1.13 billion expected;
  • EBITDA for the first quarter is projected to be $10 million to $16 million, and EBITDA for all of 2014 is being projected in a range of $150 to $180 million.

Twitter’s stock is so far getting a reality check. After closing down 0.5% at $65.97, the after-hours reaction after the news has shares down another 11% to $57.62 or so.