Twitter’s Q1 Earnings: Tumbling Stock, a Leak, an Acquisition and a Google Deal

By Justin Lafferty Comment

Twitter CEO: You Don’t Have to Tweet to Use Twitter

Twitter made a bit of news even before its Q1 2015 earnings call Tuesday, as news of the company’s performance was actually broken by Selerity, which claimed that they got the break from Twitter’s investor relations site.

But after news of Selerity’s “leak,” hit, analysts and experts were unimpressed with Twitter’s Q1 performance. Twitter posted a Q1 revenue of $436 million, falling short of the predicted range of $440 million to $450 million. The company also missed on projected monthly active user estimates, coming in with 241.6 million vs. an expected 243 million. Twitter also suffered a net loss of $162 million.

In the earnings call, CEO Dick Costolo talked about how Twitter plans to grow its user base:

To grow our user base, we need to improve new user retention and our strategy here is to provide immediate value and a compelling timeline the moment a user signs up. I talked last quarter about the experiments we were running to test instant timelines. They reduce the time and work necessary to get a great experience on Twitter by giving new users a rich personalized timeline immediately even if they don’t follow any accounts during the sign-up process. We have now launched instant timelines on iOS and Android and soon will be testing them on the web. I expect just iterate frequently on instant timelines over the coming months based on the data we are seeing from its use. The results during our experiment were quite positive in terms of engagement and neutral on retention. This is a learning product, as I have mentioned before and we see the opportunity to increase retention alongside the positive results and engagement.

Before the news of Twitter’s Q1 announcement hit, the company was valued at $51.19 per share, quickly dropping to nearly $40.

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Twitter also made two important announcements Tuesday: that the company has acquired marketing technology firm TellApart, and they’ve partnered with Google to include promoted tweets when someone buys ads on the search engine.

Kevin Weil, senior vice president of product at Twitter, discussed the acquisition in a press release:

Consumers now move fluidly between apps, devices and platforms, and performance advertisers are in need of more effective targeting and measurement tools that work seamlessly if, say, someone browses for products on a mobile device but ultimately makes a purchase on a desktop device. By bringing Twitter and TellApart together, we’ll be able to help performance advertisers reach users wherever they are, whether on desktop or mobile.

Josh McFarland, TellApart’s CEO and co-founder, is excited to join the company:

TellApart’s strengths in personalization, dynamic product ads, commerce data and with retail advertisers are strong complements to Twitter’s deep experience in mobile, understanding users and the app ecosystem. Together, we’re excited to bring the power of cross-device targeted advertising to Twitter, our clients and our ad exchange partners.

But there is hope for a very popular Twitter app. Costolo said in the earnings call that in the first 10 days after Periscope’s launch, more than 1 million users signed into the app:

As we have explained in the past, we know that rich media like photos and videos are some of the most engaging content on the platform and that’s why we have also brought native mobile video to both iOS and Android in Q1 and now along with Periscope and Vine, there are even more ways for Twitter users to watch mobile videos within the Twitter ecosystem. When we first saw Periscope in late 2014, we were excited about it for a number of reasons, but mostly because it so nicely fits into our mission to give people the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.

Readers: Do you think Twitter can rebound in Q2?

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