Twitter satisfies Q3 estimates; stands at 284M monthly active users

With Twitter, user growth is routinely the most scrutinized number in the earnings report.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Following up some big announcements for its mobile app strategy last week, Twitter handed in its third quarter earnings report after the bell on Monday.

In a Tweet-sized nutshell: The numbers were good enough, but not great.

The social network reported a net loss of $175 million, or 29 cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were a penny per share on a revenue of $361 million, up 114 percent year-over-year.

Wall Street was also expecting earnings of at least a penny per share with revenue of $351.35 million.

But with Twitter, user growth is routinely the most scrutinized number on the earnings report.

Twitter had 284 million monthly active users by the end of the third quarter, an increase of 23 percent from the same quarter last year.

Reinforcing the mobile-first concentration, mobile monthly active users accounted for roughly 80 percent of all monthly active users.

In sharp contrast to the positive reaction to the user count update last quarter, investors evidently weren't pleased as shares started to tumble by as much as 10 percent initially in after-hours trading.

However, Q2 was boosted by Twitter's reliance on attracting users and engagement through live events, as seen by the World Cup that commenced in June.

The third quarter lacked a single, global event of that magnitude, but Twitter emphasized ongoing efforts, such as new consumer experiences around NFL games.

Twitter also introduced a number of smaller endeavors it is testing to generate revenue, including Promoted Video in beta, "Buy" button, allowing users make purchases directly from a Tweet, and extending Twitter Ads to 12 additional markets in Central, Continental and Eastern Europe.

CEO Dick Costelo kept things short and simple in the report, insisting he is "confident in our ability to build the largest daily audience in the world, over time, by strengthening the core, reducing barriers to consumption and building new apps and services."

Last week, the San Francisco-based company held its first developer conference in quite some time just a few blocks from its splashy multi-story headquarters.

Amid a full basket of upgrades and other goodies aimed at mobile developers, Twitter introduced Fabric, a platform designed to grow and scale apps in development while reflecting membership and revenue.

Essentially, the framework represents Twitter's big play at mobile, integrating the micro-blogging platform into mobile apps left and right regardless if the Twitter app itself is installed on a user's smartphone or tablet.

Developers get all these tools for free, and Twitter gets another kind of asset being treated as good as gold in Silicon Valley these days: data.

Looking forward, Wall Street expects earnings of six cents per share and revenue of $448.18 million at the end of the fourth quarter.

Twitter followed up with a Q4 revenue guidance range of $440 million to $450 million. For the year, Twitter is now projecting revenue to land between $1.365 billion and $1.375 billion.

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