May 26, 2022

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Future Technology

Twitter sees user growth amid leadership shakeup

Twitter reported fourth quarter and full year results early Thursday morning. 


James Martin/CNET

Twitter grew its daily users in the last three months of 2021, a period in which a new CEO stepped in to lead the social media company. 

A total of 217 million users logged onto the platform daily in the last three months of 2021, a 13% jump compared to the same period last year. 

New CEO Parag Agrawal, who took over the top job from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in November, attributed the performance to behind-the-scenes improvements in Twitter’s operations.

“Our strong 2021 performance positions us to improve execution and deliver on our 2023 goals,” Agrawal said in a statement “We are more focused and better organized to deliver improved personalization and selection for our audience, partners, and advertisers.” 

The earnings report suggests Twitter is on track to hit an ambitious goal of $7.5 billion in annual revenue and 315 million daily users by 2023. Twitter’s revenue for all of 2021 was $5.08 billion. 

Twitter’s performance contrasted with Facebook parent Meta. Last week, Meta posted disappointing earnings that suggested its growth might be plateauing prompting investors to chop more than a quarter from its market valuation. For the first time in its history, Facebook’s daily active users fell. The company had 1.93 billion daily users in the fourth quarter, down 1 million from the 1.92 billion users in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Twitter racked up $1.57 billion in revenue, just shy of expectations of $1.6 billion. The company earned 21 cents per share, above estimates of 16 cents per share, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters. Excluding certain expenses, Twitter earnings 23 cents per share compared to the 35 cents per share expected.

Like other social media companies, Twitter faces challenges promoted by changes in Apple’s privacy policies that make it tougher for advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their marketing campaigns. The Apple feature asks users of iPhones and iPads to grant permission to apps that want to track them.

Meta, Facebook’s parent company, partly blamed the changes for disappointing fourth-quarter earnings.

Twitter has been experimenting with features that allow it to generate revenue outside of ads, which make up the bulk of its revenue. The company, for example, launched a new subscription service called Twitter Blue that allows users to undo a tweet and read ad-free news articles for a $3 per month fee.

Social networks are also facing more competition In its report, Meta noted competition from TikTok, which has continued to grow in popularity. Meta’s short-form video product, Reels, doesn’t generate as much revenue as the company’s News Feed or Stories where people can post content that vanishes in 24 hours.

Snap, the parent company of ephemeral messaging app Snapchat, posted its first quarterly net profit, sending its stock surging by more than 50%. The company said its ad business recovered more quickly than the company expected from Apple’s privacy changes. 

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