A Happy 2014 for Twitter? Q1 Sees Revenue Gains, New Active Users

By Steve Anderson May 01, 2014

New reports out on Twitter's first quarter of 2014 saw some good news emerge for the company, and may well be the start of a good year to come. While expectations were beat on several fronts, and the company even had some good news in terms of user counts, the question likely remained for some investors about Twitter's long-term viability, particularly in light of something of a slowdown in the rate of growth for the company.

The numbers played out fairly well overall, with the company reporting revenue of $250 million, and per-share earnings of $0.00, as measured by non-generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), which allows a company to include things like earnings from cash and operations, as well as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). This actually beats expectations, which were put around overall revenue of $241.5 million, and a per-share loss of $0.03. While the $0.00 earning may seem like another way of saying nothing, the company actually had net income—as measured by non-GAAP standards—of $183,000 for the first quarter. The issue, of course, is that there are over half a billion shares of Twitter outstanding at last report, so the per-share numbers fall into fractions of cents.

However, Twitter is showing some signs of forward momentum overall, as revenue is up fully 119 percent over the same time last year, in which Twitter lost $132 million in GAAP terms, yielding a net loss of $0.23 per share. The numbers of monthly active users—also released with the numbers—helped to show that forward push, but at the same time, also showed a potential high-water mark was closing in. Twitter reported monthly active users of 255 million total, which is up from last quarter's 241 million, up about 5.8 percent from the last quarter, and about 25 percent over the last year. 78 percent of users, meanwhile, accessed the service from a mobile device.

Image via Shutterstock

Taken all together, the news is good for Twitter in the short term—earnings and user counts are up, no two ways about it—but not necessarily good in the long term. Some are already looking at the numbers and thinking that Twitter's days of massive user count gains are over, a development that doesn't exactly bode well given the sheer number of other social media services out there. From Facebook to Pinterest and beyond, to not grow is essentially to start dying, and it may be that Twitter's on its last legs, so to speak. Even in the nearer long term, a decline in growth rates means lower growth throughout the rest of the company, and that doesn't bode well in terms of return on investment. However, the company has something of an ace in the hole in the form of $2.2 billion in cash and equivalents, meaning that it's in a very comfortable position to make expansions into other fields. Diversification is seldom a bad idea, and provides a note of investor confidence; maybe Twitter's primary stock in trade buckles a bit, but it's got other eggs in other baskets, so to speak, and that's the kind of thing that can bolster confidence.

Twitter's future is somewhat uncertain, and though there are some good numbers emerging, the news in the future may not be quite so bright. Will it be a happy 2014 for Twitter? Only 2015 will really tell that story, but it will be one to watch all the same.

Edited by Alisen Downey

Contributing TechZone360 Writer

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