Twitter shares jump as monetizable daily active users beat expectations

Twitter beat consensus expectations in first-quarter results on the top- and bottom-lines and posted a jump in daily active users, sending shares surging in early trading.

The San Francisco, California-based social media company reported revenue of $786.9 million for the fiscal first quarter ending in March, exceeding expectations for revenue of $775 million, according to Bloomberg data. In the year-ago quarter, Twitter posted revenue of $665 million.

First-quarter adjusted earnings per share came in at 37 cents, jumping ahead of consensus estimates of 15 cents per share and the year-ago quarter’s 16 cents per share.

Monetizable daily active users (mDAU) increased 11% over last year to 134 million in the fiscal first quarter. This included 105 million mDAU internationally and 28 million in the U.S. In the fourth quarter, average mDAU totaled 126 million globally.

Twitter in a statement attributed the increase in mDAU to “organic growth as well as ongoing product improvements and marketing.”

Shares of Twitter jumped 8.61% to $37.34 each as of 7:06 a.m. ET Tuesday.

Twitter announced in a letter to shareholders last quarter that it would stop breaking out monthly active users after the first quarter of 2019, stating at the time that it believed mDAU and its related growth were the “best ways to measure [Twitter’s] success.” The company defines mDAU as users that log into a Twitter application on any given day and are able to see advertisements.

Average monthly active users (MAU) for the first quarter totaled 330 million, down 1.8% from 336 million in the first quarter of 2018.

Twitter mDAUs 1Q19

Advertising revenue, from which the largest portion of Twitter’s sales are derived, grew 18.3% year-over-year to $787 million. However, this marked a slight slowdown from the about 21% pace of advertising sales growth the company reported in the first quarter of 2018. International advertising revenue totaled $317 million for the first quarter of 2019, while U.S.-derived ad revenue was $363 million.

Higher ad impressions and improving clickthrough rates across Twitter’s advertising formats pushed ad engagement up 23% in the quarter, while cost per ad engagement decreased by 4%.

Last quarter, Twitter raised some concerns about costs by announcing it expected operating expenses to increase by 20% in 2019 amid an increase in headcount and merit salaries, as well as ongoing efforts to support its “existing priorities of health, conversation, revenue product and sales, and platform.” The company reported in its latest letter to shareholders that total operating expenses grew 18% over last year in the first quarter of 2019.

Twitter launched a campaign more than a year ago to remove spam and abusive content from its site, and ahead of earnings published an update blog post speaking to these efforts. The company announced that that 38% of abusive content is now “surfaced proactively” to the company’s teams for review, rather than relying on reports from users, up from 0% of such content proactively discovered last year.

“We are taking an even more proactive approach to reducing abuse on Twitter and its effects in 2019,” the company stated in its first-quarter shareholder letter. “Improvements in Q1 emphasized proactive detection of rule violations and physical, or off-platform, safety — including making it easier to report Tweets that share personal information, helping us remove 2.5 times more of this content since launch.”

Shares of Twitter have advanced about 19.7% this year through Monday’s close. Shares of peer social media companies Facebook and Snap rose 38.4% and 109.3% each, respectively, for the year-to-date through Monday.