Twitter Reaches 166M Daily Users, Details Pandemic Ad Impact

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Social media giant Twitter on Thursday reported first-quarter earnings and revenues, underpinned by taking its number of monetizable daily active users to 166 million, against a year-earlier 134 million and 152 million mDAU for the fourth quarter of 2019.

Twitter also posted advertising revenue $682 million, up $3 million year-over-year, and overall revenue rose 3 percent to $808 million. At the same time, the company pointed to a 27 percent fall in advertising revenue from March 11 to March 31 as the coronavirus pandemic began to bite.

The company swung to a first-quarter loss of $8.3 million, against a profit of $190.8 million in 2019.

The daily active user growth -- the main metric for the company in measuring audiences -- came during the coronavirus pandemic when Twitter users have been sheltering in their homes and engaging more with social media.

The San Francisco-based tech company, led by CEO Jack Dorsey, reported earnings of 11 cents per share, which beat a Wall Street forecast of 10 cents per-share.

Wall Street analysts had expected Twitter to post overall revenues at $777.8 million and 163 million daily active users at the end of the first quarter.

Shares in Twitter rose by $1.90, or 6 percent, to $32.99 in pre-market trading after Twitter beat Wall Street forecasts on both the top and bottom line.

That followed the social media giant on March 23 amid the coronavirus pandemic withdrawing its earnings forecasts and warning it expected to post lower first-quarter revenues and an overall operating loss. During that update, Twitter also said a jump in its base of active users as people sheltered in their home during the COVID-19 crisis was being offset by a hit to its revenues as marketers cut their advertising budgets.

As part comments that accompanied its latest results on Thursday, Twitter said its advertising revenues needed to be seen in the light of both before and after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

"As an indication of the rapid change in advertising behavior, from March 11 (when many events around the world began to be canceled and many in the U.S. began sheltering in place) until March 31, our total advertising revenue declined approximately 27% year over year. The downturn we saw in March was particularly pronounced in the U.S., and advertising weakness in Asia began to subside as work and travel restrictions were gradually lifted," the company said.

In reaction to the COVID-19 impact, Twitter said it is cutting costs and bolstering its ad products. "In light of the current operating and economic environment, we have shifted resources and priorities to increase focus on our revenue products, particularly performance ads beginning with MAP, with the goal of accelerating our long-term roadmap," the social media giant added.

Also during the latest quarter, Twitter announced it had reached a settlement with activist investor Elliott Management that includes tech investor Silver Lake taking a $1 billion stake in the social media giant and co-founder and CEO Dorsey remaining at the helm.

This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.


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