Twitter is suddenly making money and Wall Street likes it a whole lot

Matthew Lynley

Despite flat user numbers and a nominal beat in revenue, Twitter's fortune-reversal over the past several months is still going as the company said it actually posted a GAAP net income — sending the stock jumping more than 15%.

Twitter's overall user numbers were flat, but the company was still able to post a surprising profit and fell above what Wall Street expected for its fourth-quarter earnings. While the company has had to constantly face down issues with the service's usability and problems that may keep new people from coming on, a lot of attention is now on its ability to try to figure out how to best capitalize on those users, such as by going after live video.

Here's the slash line:

  • Q4 revenue: $731.6 million, compared to $686.1 million expected by Wall Street. (Up 2% year- aover-year)
  • Q4 earnings: 19 cents per share, compared to analyst estimates of 14 cents per share on an adjusted basis.
  • Monthly active users: 330 million, compared to analyst targets of 333 million. (Flat quarter-over-quarter, up from 318 million year-over-year).
  • Year-over-year DAU growth: 12%
  • Q4 Advertising revenue: $644 million

So there's a couple things happening here, but it's both that GAAP profitability and a surprising return to revenue growth that seems to looks very good here. And, naturally, nice surprises and money look good to Wall Street. Here's the chart for the company's stock, including today's huge jump:

Twitter likes to (frustratingly) hand over that "year-over-year DAU growth percentage" metric as tries to distance itself from the MAU as a core metric — which is one that has hounded Twitter for a number of reasons. But in recent months the company has made moves to curb harassment and has made at least some product changes, like expanding a Tweet's character count to a maximum of 280 characters.

A whole lot happened since Twitter last reported its earnings. The company has been revising up the number of people it says interacted with Twitter accounts linked to propaganda efforts by a Russian government-linked organization. It also lost Anthony Noto, its chief operating officer who did a lot to help Twitter get into video, to SoFi. So, in very Twitter fashion, things are not ever particularly quiet over there.

But the company also ended 2017 on a very strong run, and even ended up with roughly the same market cap as Snap thanks to a sharp decline in their stock. That decline definitely reversed itself yesterday when Snap reported strong earnings, but thanks to a small-ish blessing from Wall Street and doing at least some stuff in 2017, the company was on track to finish up by around 25%.

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