Twitter exceeded Wall Street estimates for profit and revenue while also reporting modest user gains in the first quarter.
Earnings per share came in at 37 cents, well ahead of analysts’ consensus forecast of 15 cents. Revenue reached $787 million edged estimates of $776.1 million.
The social network reported monthly active users, excluding SMS users, of 330 million, well ahead of analysts’ consensus outlook of 318 million. As the company had previously noted, this is the last quarter that it will report MAUs, shifting instead to a metric it calls “monetizable daily active users.” The change came after a purge last summer of “bots” or fake accounts, which resulted in two straight quarters of missed user estimates.
In the first quarter, Twitter had 134 million average mDAUs, up from 120 million in the same quarter of 2018 and an improvement over the 126 million it reported in the fourth quarter. Usage increased in the U.S. along with the total base, with 28 million average mDAUs a notch ahead of the 26 million in the year-ago period. Growth was stronger internationally, with 105 million average mDAUs for the first quarter, compared with 94 million a year earlier.
Those user numbers are significantly smaller than those of Facebook and Instagram, but Twitter has emphasized the “monetizable” part of its measurement, saying its users are engaged and can therefore be more effectively targeted by advertisers. It will amplify that pitch next Monday in New York during its annual NewFronts presentation to media buyers.
CEO Jack Dorsey has come under fire in recent months for his response to manipulations of the company’s platform, including posts by hate groups. In Twitter’s earnings release, the company stood by its efforts to ensure safety for users. “The health of the public conversation on Twitter remains our greatest priority, so people feel safe being a part of the conversation and are able to find credible information on our service,” the company said.