Twitter sinks after saying its monthly user base continued to decline

Twitter sinks after saying its monthly user base continued to decline

"Our [monetizable daily active users] are not comparable to current disclosures from other companies, many of whom share a more expansive metric that includes people who are not seeing ads", Twitter said in a letter to investors.

The social networking company will stop releasing its number of monthly active users, a figure which has been declining.

Twitter said it measures its number of daily users differently than other companies because it counts only users who can view ads. That was up from about 124 million in the third quarter and from about 116 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, it said.

However, Twitter's share price fall came amid investor concern about overall user growth as monthly numbers dropped, and disappointing guidance on first quarter revenues.

"Monetizable DAU are Twitter users who log in and access Twitter through twitter.com or our Twitter applications that are able to show ads", the company said. Previously, the company disclosed only the percent by which DAUs changed on an annual basis.

Despite its lacklustre user growth, Twitter's financial health improved after years of losses. As for Instagram, the platform was reported to have 400 million daily users for its Stories features alone in June past year.

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The move "stands in solid opposition with Facebook's recent announcement that it will be merging its metrics across its family of apps, including WhatsApp and Instagram, and no longer reporting on individual Facebook user figures", Josh Krichefski, chief executive of MediaCom, said.

If Twitter can continue these trends, and show that its efforts to clean up its platform are resulting in more users coming back, more often - and that that, in turn, is producing better advertiser results - then it could end up being a worthy switch.

"The falloff in monthly active users is likely a continuation of Twitter's efforts to remove questionable accounts". We want to align our external stakeholders around one metric that reflects our goal of delivering value to people on Twitter every day and monetizing that usage.

But in giving something new to shareholders, Twitter also is taking something away.

Q4 was the fifth quarter in a row that the social network reported a profit, with revenue of US$909 million and 31 cents earnings per share, however, its shares tumbled approximately 8% in premarket trading as the social network forecasts a less successful 2019.

Despite less impressive results than Facebook and Snap this quarter, Yuval adds that the platform is taking the right steps to further grow and monetise its user base, and that investing in new and engaging formats will help Twitter catch up to the competition. Previously it had only given out the monthly active user numbers. That was in line with analysts' forecasts, but down from 330 million a year earlier and 326 million in the third quarter.

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