Twitter released its second quarter earnings report last week to much fanfare, and rightly so, as the figures beat Wall Street expectations across the board.
The most closely-watched metric in Twitter’s report was, as usual, its monthly active users (MAUs) tally, which has now reached 271 million. However, buried deep in the presentation that accompanied the release was a worrying statistic: 14 percent of Twitter accounts log on or connect to the service via third party apps, which means that close to 40 million of its active users are never served ads.
Here’s what it says in the presentation (PDF):
“In the three months ended June 30, 2014, approximately fourteen percent of all active users used applications that have the capability to automatically contact our servers for regular updates. As such, the calculations of MAUs presented in our earnings materials may be affected as a result of automated activity.”
14 percent of 271 million is 37.94 million – a very significant body of customers. For a comparison, Twitter has 60 million active users in the U.S. – the rest are international.
This is a potentially worrying statistic for Twitter going forward – if third party users of the service trend upwards, that’s less and less people that are seeing ads, meaning less money for Twitter and less appeal for advertisers.
While the MAU metric will likely always be Twitter’s “number”, analysts will be keeping a close eye on how many users are connecting to Twitter away from its main platform in the Q3 release. If that 14 percent continues to grow, it could hit the stock hard.
(Source: The Wall Street Journal.)