Skip to main content

Honeymoon over for Dorsey as Twitter results disappoint again

twitter results disappoint again shares fall pew news source
Anthony Quintano / Creative Commons
If Twitter could grow its user base as easily as Jack Dorsey appears to be able to grow his beard, the company would be laughing now. But Q3 figures posted Tuesday pointed to continued slowing growth (of the user base, not Jack’s hairy appendage), a decline the company is desperate to reverse amid increasing investor concern.

The microblogging service now has 320 million monthly active users globally, marking an increase of just four million on the previous quarter. The disappointment was compounded by the fact that analysts had forecast user numbers reaching 324 million. Take away SMS followers and Twitter’s user base stands at 307 million, up by only three million since the end of June, while since the end of March it’s added a total of just five million.

Looking at the U.S. alone, Twitter’s user base has remained virtually unchanged at around 66 million for the last three quarters.

Compare the numbers to say, Instagram, which has seen its global user base increase by 100 million to 400 million in the last nine months alone, and you begin to understand the scale of the challenge facing Twitter at the present time.

Revenue for the quarter ending September 30 reached $569 million, up 58 percent on a year earlier ($361 million) and $10 million higher than analyst forecasts. And while the company failed to turn a profit – reporting a net loss of $132 million – the losses were lower than the $175 million reported for the same period in 2014.

Commenting on the data, Dr. Sotirios Paroutis, associate professor of strategic management at Warwick Business School in the U.K., told Digital Trends that the company’s latest financials “provide the basis for some early optimism that Twitter’s attempt to simplify its organisation and services is working….[But] more work is needed to keep simplifying the experience, and keep engaging developers, advertisers, and users.”

Paroutis pointed to the recent launch of Moments as one of Twitter’s major moves to simplify the experience, describing it as “a fundamental shift” in the company’s thinking. Moments offers users a way to easily follow tweets linked to specific unfolding events and is part of Twitter’s ongoing effort to make the service easier to understand for new users.

Following the release of the latest financials, which were accompanied by a weak Q4 forecast, Twitter shares plunged 13 percent to just over $27 in after-hours trading.

Although he’s been running the show since Dick Costolo stepped down from the top job in July, Dorsey only took on the CEO role on a permanent basis at the start of this month. However, with these latest financials encompassing the Twitter co-founder’s first full quarter in charge, investors hoping the company can emulate Facebook’s success appear to have a long wait ahead of them.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
SXSW 2020’s fate uncertain after Twitter, Facebook pull out amid coronavirus fears
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey at CES 2019

Facebook, Twitter, and Intel have decided not to attend at the annual South by Southwest festival (SXSW), amid concerns about the coronavirus. Twitter was the first to cancel, including a planned keynote with CEO Jack Dorsey. With three of the biggest companies no longer attending, it remains unclear whether SXSW will take place as usual this year.

On Sunday, Twitter announced it was suspending ”non-critical business travel and events” until a vaccine is available or the World Health Organization or Centers for Disease Control “deem it appropriate to step back from pandemic precautionary measures.” On Monday, Facebook followed suit and canceled its attendance. “Due to concerns related to coronavirus, our companies and employees will not be participating in SXSW,” Facebook said in a statement to Business Insider on Monday. By Tuesday, Intel had released its own statement: "After careful consideration, we have withdrawn from on-site activities at this year’s SXSW. We are grateful to SXSW for their understanding and look forward to attending and supporting future events."

Read more
Police arrest suspect in hack of Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s account
best classic simpsons episodes disney plus jack dorsey twitter ceo

Cops have reportedly picked up a suspect who may have been involved in a hack over the summer that saw Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s own Twitter account compromised.

The suspect is thought to be a former member of a hacker group called the Chuckling Squad and is aged under 18 years old, according to a Motherboard report citing law enforcement and criminal sources. The arrest took place two weeks ago at an unspecified location but has only just come to light.

Read more
How will Twitter ban political ads when practically everything is political?
CEO Jack Dorsey

On Wednesday, Twitter announced it will no longer host political ads on its social media platform. “We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted. “We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought.”

As of now, there aren’t a lot of details on how the ban will work. In addition to ads about specific candidates and elections, “issue ads” also won’t be allowed. That includes those that “advocate for or against legislative issues of national importance (such as: climate change, healthcare, immigration, national security, taxes),” according to Vijaya Gadde, the company’s global lead for legal, policy, and trust and safety. To be clear: Politicians will still be able to tweet their own ads; they just won't be able to pay Twitter to promote them.

Read more