Why This Twitter Earnings Report Matters So Much

Twitter, Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) is set to report its second quarter earnings report after the close of trading on Tuesday. This will be just the second full quarter earnings report since its late 2013 initial public offering.

24/7 Wall St. has seen that the Thomson Reuters estimate is for a loss of one-cent per share on revenues of $283 million. Management had guided in a range of $270 to $280 million. New advertising is said to be continuing to let the company grow, but we are also looking at that user growth closely and the internal ad metrics rather than just the raw revenue number.

We would caution that 2013 revenue was $664.89 million, up almost 110% from the $316.93 million in 2012. Revenue growth is expected to slow ahead – with 90% growth to $1.27 billion in 2014 and with revenue growth of another 62% to $2.06 billion in 2015. This is still massive growth expected, but many investors remain mixed to uncertain about Twitter and its endless growth.

On top of revenue growth, we will again be looking closely at user growth. This should be up somewhere close to around 6% again to around 270 million users, although the fair range might be 265 million to 275 million.

The number is too wild to calculate for an earnings multiple for 2014, but even after losing half of its post-IPO peak value Twitter still trades above 140-times expected 2015 earnings per share. It is also trading at a multiple of almost 11-times expected 2015 revenues.

We have long wondered how investors will continue to treat social media stocks in the years ahead. At some point there will either be a split where social media takes over or there will be user fatigue. That verdict remains out.

Twitter shares were above $38 on Monday in afternoon trading. Its 52-week trading range is $29.51 to $74.73, and the consensus analyst price target is almost $43.50.

It almost feels like a conundrum for Twitter investors. The stock has lost half of its peak value, but it likely still has to post very strong numbers to keep investors happy. Having a market cap of $22.25 billion in revenues comes with high expectations, and disappointing on those expectations could come with serious consequences.

These were the metrics posted in the first quarter of 2014, verbatim from Twitter’s release:

  • Average Monthly Active Users (MAUs) were 255 million as of March 31, 2014, an increase of 25% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs reached 198 million in the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 31% year-over-year, representing 78% of total MAUs.
  • Timeline views reached 157 billion for the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 15% year-over-year.
  • Advertising revenue per thousand timeline views reached $1.44 in the first quarter of 2014, an increase of 96% year-over-year.

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