Twitter beats on revenue, sees rise in daily users viewing ads

Twitter’s revenue rose 18% from a year earlier to $841 million, beating Wall Street expectations of $829 million, based on Refinitiv data. (Reuters)
Updated 26 July 2019

Twitter beats on revenue, sees rise in daily users viewing ads

  • Twitter reported second-quarter profit of $1.1 billion, or $1.43 per share, compared with $100 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier
  • Total advertising revenue rose to $727 million, an increase of 21% year-on-year, as the company continued to improve its ad platform and formats

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter Inc. posted a better-than-expected second-quarter revenue on Friday and an uptick in daily users who see advertisements on the site, driven by changes to show users more relevant content.

However, the company forecast third-quarter revenue below many Wall Street estimates and said revenue growth would lag the first two quarters, partly due to ending some older ad formats.

Twitter’s revenue and number of users have been in focus since the social media platform started deleting millions of spam or fake accounts promoting hate speech or spreading political misinformation, contributing to declines in monthly users through 2018.

The company reported a rise in monthly active users in the first quarter, fueling speculation that Twitter was returning to growth, but has since stopped disclosing its MAU count

Instead, this quarter it reported monetizable daily active usage (mDAU), a metric it created to measure only users exposed on a daily basis to advertising on the site and exclude those who access Twitter via aggregating sites like TweetDeck.

Its monetizable daily active usage (mDAU) hit 139 million, beating analyst expectations of 135 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey said machine learning improvements to deliver more relevant content helped drive up this count.

Twitter reported second-quarter profit of $1.1 billion, or $1.43 per share, compared with $100 million, or 13 cents per share, a year earlier. Profit was boosted by an income tax benefit of over $1 billion related to corporate restructuring.

Twitter’s revenue rose 18% from a year earlier to $841 million, beating Wall Street expectations of $829 million, based on Refinitiv data.

Total advertising revenue rose to $727 million, an increase of 21% year-on-year, as the company continued to improve its ad platform and formats.

It forecast total revenue for the third quarter to be between $815 million and $875 million. Analysts on average were expecting about $869.3 million.

Twitter has continued to bulk up its live and on-demand video content partnerships. On Thursday, NBCUniversal said they would team up to livestream parts of the 2022 Olympic Games, Twitter’s latest move in a series of deals aimed at boosting sports conversation on the platform.

It also expanded its multimedia features, launching a Snapchat-style camera feature in the Twitter app and releasing its own long-awaited tool for clipping and publishing video.

Last week, the company rolled out its redesigned site and in March launched “twttr,” a prototype app where certain users can test out new features as part of its efforts to make conversations easier to find and follow.

Twitter also recently updated its policies on hateful conduct directed at religious groups and last month introduced a new policy to de-emphasize and label rule-breaking tweets from important sources like politicians, though this has not yet been used.

Total operating expenses, including cost of revenue, rose by 21% to $766 million, partly due to plans to hire more employees.


Google tightens political ads policy to thwart abuse

Updated 21 November 2019

Google tightens political ads policy to thwart abuse

  • The Internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, to lie

SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc’s Google will stop giving advertisers the ability to target election ads using data such as public voter records and general political affiliations, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.
The move comes at a time when social media platforms are under pressure over their handling of political advertising ahead of the US presidential election in 2020.
Google said it would limit audience targeting for election ads to age, gender and general location at a postal code level. Political advertisers also can still contextually target, such as serving ads to people reading about a certain topic.
Previously, verified political advertisers could also target ads using data gleaned from users’ behavior, such as search actions, that categorized them as left-leaning, right-leaning or independent. They could also upload data such as voter file lists to target ads to a lookalike audience which exhibited similar behaviors to those in the data.
Google will enforce the new approach in the United Kingdom within a week, ahead of the country’s general election on Dec. 12. It said it would enforce it in the European Union by the end of the year and in the rest of the world starting on Jan. 6, 2020.
“Given recent concerns and debates about political advertising, and the importance of shared trust in the democratic process, we want to improve voters’ confidence in the political ads they may see on our ad platforms,” Scott Spencer, vice president of product management for Google Ads, said in the blog post.
Google is the top seller of online ads in the United States, but smaller rivals with fewer targeting restrictions may now attract more business from campaigns, one political ad buyer, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters on Wednesday.
Google added examples to its misrepresentation policy to show that it would not allow false claims about election results or the eligibility of political candidates based on age or birthplace.
Last month, Google refused to remove an ad run by President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign on its YouTube video-streaming service that Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s campaign said contained false claims, because it did not violate the policy.
A Google spokeswoman told Reuters on Wednesday that the video would still be allowed under the latest policy.
Social media giant Facebook Inc. has been criticized by lawmakers and regulators over its decision to not fact-check ads run by politicians on its platform, while Twitter has decided to ban political ads.
Google also clarified that its policies for political and nonpolitical ads prohibit doctored and manipulated media.
On Dec. 3, the company will expand its ad transparency efforts to ads related to state-level elections, including them in an online database created to catalog political advertising.