Twitter Hits 189 Million Daily Users, Stock Price Falls

Jack Dorsey-Getty-H 2016
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The social media giant, led by CEO Jack Dorsey, saw its shares slide in after-market trading on disappointing usage numbers.

Twitter on Thursday unveiled a third-quarter earnings report that gave a window to the impact on the social media platform from the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

The social media platform said the number daily active users stood at 187 million for the quarter, but that was up only 1 million users compared to the second quarter that ended with 186 million DAUs.

The latest three-month period fell short of an analyst forecast of 196.3 million DAUs. That miss on user growth sent stock in Twitter down by $5.15, or just under 10 percent, to $47.27 in after-hours trading.

Twitter saw its number of DAUs rise by 20 million to 186 million at the end of the second quarter, compared to the first quarter of 2020, leaving investors concerned that the second quarter was a one-time gain in usage not to continue during the second half of 2020.

Tamping down on investor expectations, Twitter COO Ned Segal during an afternoon analyst call pointed to a "huge surge in audience" towards the end of the first quarter of 2020 due to the onset of the pandemic that was unlikely to be repeated every quarter.

"We'd all like to have that surge all the time, but it's just not going to happen every quarter," Segal said.

The social media giant posted adjusted earnings of 19 cents per share, which beat an analyst forecast of 6 cents a share in earnings for the latest financial quarter. The San Francisco-based social media company also posted overall revenues rising 14 percent to $936 million, which blew past an analyst forecast of $775.4 million. 

U.S. revenue was $513 million, up 10 percent, while overall international revenue was $424 million, rising 18 percent. That overall revenue jump came with third-quarter ad sales, which comprise the bulk of Twitter's overall revenues, coming in at $808 million, up 15 percent year-over-year.

The social messaging app has been trying to improve its user experience and keep people more engaged. Twitter, in its commentary, addressed changes to its treatment of political advertising and stories in the run-up to the Nov. 3 U.S. Presidential election, including putting warnings on "misleading" tweets.

"Our work to reduce abuse, combat misinformation, and protect the integrity of civic-related conversations has never been more important. In the run-up to the 2020 US election, we have made significant changes to both product and enforcement to increase context and encourage more thoughtful consideration before Tweets are amplified," the company said.