Twitter reveals its daily active user numbers for the first time

Gladys Abbott
February 8, 2019

That increase of roughly 11 million users over the course of a year might sound like a success story for Twitter, but there are some things to unpack here.

"Monetizable DAU are Twitter users who log in and access Twitter on any given day through twitter.com or our Twitter applications that are able to show ads", the company said in a statement. According to these figures, only 39 percent of Twitter's user base actually use the app every day.

"Health is our top priority as we continue our work to help people find credible information and feel safe participating in the conversation on Twitter", said the company's chief executive, Jack Dorsey.

The reasoning is that a less-toxic Twitter should benefit its standing with ad buyers in the long term.

One way Twitter will deal with this steady decline in monthly active users is to simply stop reporting them. The shares slid about 7 percent in early trading.

"At first glance, we are encouraged by ongoing positive revenue and mDAU ("monetizable" DAU) trajectory with strong Q4 results; however, management's guidance suggests higher levels of platform investment amid a slowdown in revenue growth", Sebastian wrote in a note Thursday to investors.

Those higher costs could eat into Twitter's future earnings, some analysts said.

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Twitter shares tanked almost 10 percent Thursday after the company warned of weaker-than-expected revenue and said it will stop reporting its closely watched monthly active user metrics.

Shares in Twitter have fallen 10% after the social media company's revenue forecast fell short of expectations.

"Our [monetizable daily active users] are not comparable to current disclosures from other companies, many of whom share a more expansive metric that includes people who are not seeing ads", Twitter said in a letter to investors.

That's 60 million users less than Snapchat's daily count.

But Twitter's base of monthly active users declined to 321 million - a drop of nine million from a year earlier and five million from the prior quarter.

Total advertising revenue rose 23 percent to $791 million (roughly Rs. 5,500 crores). The company expected a total revenue of between $715 million and $775 million for the first quarter of 2019; according to IBES data from Refinitiv, the midpoint of that figure range was below the average analyst estimate of $765 million.

Twitter has made its first annual profit in its 13-year history but another fall in the number of its users and a disappointing sales forecast took the gloss off the results and sent its shares down almost 10 per cent.

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