Twitter shares rise 6% after better-than-expected Q2

Steven Loeb · July 28, 2015 · Short URL:

Revenue grows 61% to $502M; EPS of $0.07 as MAUs rise higher than expected

With a shakeup in leadership, and numerous quarters with less than stellar user growth, many were not expecting much out of Twitter's latest quartely earnings. In fact, more than a few seemed to be bracing for the worst. 

How wrong they were. Shares of Twitter soared in after hours trading, raising over 6% following the release of the company's second-quarter earnings report. They are now up 2.5%.

The stock had risen 5.3%, or $1.84, to $36.54 a share during regular trading on Tuesday.

The optimism comes from Twitter reporting Q2 revenue of $502 million, up 61% year-over-year, and above the previously forecast range of $470 million to $485 million. It was also much higher than the $481.28 million that Wall Street had been expecting,

It also reported non-GAAP EPS of $0.07, beating the $0.04 expected by analysts.

Investors are also happy that, in slightly surprising turn of events, Twitter actually managed to do triumph in the area that it had been struggling with the most in recent quarters: user growth.

Average Monthly Active Users (MAUs) were 316 million for the second quarter, up 15% year-over-year, and compared to 308 million in the previous quarter. That beat the 310 million that analysts had been expecting. 

The larger-than-expected increase comes from the company's new practice of counting so-called SMS Fast Followers, which are users who people who sign up and access Twitter only through text message. Without those users, MAUs were 304 million for the second quarter, up 12% year-over-year, and compared to 302 million in the previous quarter.

Mobile represented approximately 80% of total MAUs.

“Our Q2 results show good progress in monetization, but we are not satisfied with our growth in audience,” Jack Dorsey, interim CEO of Twitter, said in a statement. “In order to realize Twitter’s full potential, we must improve in three key areas: ensure more disciplined execution, simplify our service to deliver Twitter's value faster, and better communicate that value.”

Once again, almost all of Twitter's revenue came from advertising, which accounted for $452 million, an increase of 63% year-over-year. It would have been 71% if not for foreign exchange rates. Mobile advertising revenue was 89% of total advertising revenue. Mobile advertising revenue was 88% of total advertising revenue.

Data licensing and other revenue totaled $50 million, an increase of 44% year-over-year. Of Twitter's total revenue, $181 million was international, an increase of 78% year-over-year.

Twitter now is projecting revenue of between $545 and $560 million, with adjusted EBITDA in the range of $110 million to $115 million, for the next quarter.

For the full year 2015, it expects to see revenue between $2.2 billion to $2.27 billion, up from the $2.170 billion to $2.270 billion it was projecting last quarter.

It expects to see an adjusted EBITDA in the range of $520 million to $540 million, up from $510 million to $535 million.

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What is Twitter?

Twitter is an online information network that allows anyone with an account to post 140 character messages, called tweets. It is free to sign up. Users then follow other accounts which they are interested in, and view the tweets of everyone they follow in their "timeline." Most Twitter accounts are public, where one does not need to approve a request to follow, or need to follow back. This makes Twitter a powerful "one to many" broadcast platform where individuals, companies or organizations can reach millions of followers with a single message. Twitter is accessible from, our mobile website, SMS, our mobile apps for iPhone, Android, Blackberry, our iPad application, or 3rd party clients built by outside developers using our API. Twitter accounts can also be private, where the owner must approve follower requests. 

Where did the idea for Twitter come from?

Twitter started as an internal project within the podcasting company Odeo. Jack Dorsey, and engineer, had long been interested in status updates. Jack developed the idea, along with Biz Stone, and the first prototype was built in two weeks in March 2006 and launched publicly in August of 2006. The service grew popular very quickly and it soon made sense for Twitter to move outside of Odea. In May 2007, Twitter Inc was founded.

How is Twitter built?

Our engineering team works with a web application framework called Ruby on Rails. We all work on Apple computers except for testing purposes. 

We built Twitter using Ruby on Rails because it allows us to work quickly and easily--our team likes to deploy features and changes multiple times per day. Rails provides skeleton code frameworks so we don't have to re-invent the wheel every time we want to add something simple like a sign in form or a picture upload feature.

How do you make money from Twitter?

There are a few ways that Twitter makes money. We have licensing deals in place with Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft's Bing to give them access to the "firehose" - a stream of tweets so that they can more easily incorporate those tweets into their search results.

In Summer 2010, we launched our Promoted Tweets product. Promoted Tweets are a special kind of tweet which appear at the top of search results within, if a company has bid on that keyword. Unlike search results in search engines, Promoted Tweets are normal tweets from a business, so they are as interactive as any other tweet - you can @reply, favorite or retweet a Promoted Tweet. 

At the same time, we launched Promoted Trends, where companies can place a trend (clearly marked Promoted) within Twitter's Trending Topics. These are especially effective for upcoming launches, like a movie or album release.

Lastly, we started a Twitter account called @earlybird where we partner with other companies to provide users with a special, short-term deal. For example, we partnered with Virgin America for a special day of fares on that were only accessible through the link in the @earlybird tweet.


What's next for Twitter?

We continue to focus on building a product that provides value for users. 

We're building Twitter, Inc into a successful, revenue-generating company that attracts world-class talent with an inspiring culture and attitude towards doing business.