Twitter IPO: 218 Million Active Users, 500 Million Tweets/Day, 75% Mobile Use (Still Unprofitable)

Twitter has filed the official statement for its widely-anticipated initial public offering (IPO) to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and with the Form S-1 registration the company has unveiled a series of important statistics about the state of Twitter, both as a platform and entity, heading into their stock launch.

And for the most part the numbers are pretty disappointing.

Here’s the scoop:

  • Twitter has 218 million active users
  • 75 percent of active users access Twitter from a mobile device, and 65 percent of ad revenue comes from mobile
  • 500 million tweets are now sent every single day
  • Revenue between 2011 and 2012 increased 198 percent to $316.9 million
  • Despite this, Twitter is still unprofitable, posting a $79 million lost in 2012 – and will lose even more money in 2013

The increase in revenues aside, pretty much all of these numbers are either soft or significantly less than anticipated.

Let’s break it down.

Twitter officially announced it had passed the 200 million active user threshold in December 2012. Ten months later, the company has grown just 9 percent.

That’s far less than almost everybody I know has been assuming. I personally thought the company would be closer to 250-300 million actives now. Indeed, the Form S-1 contradicts their own announcement from December, as the statement says that Twitter had just 185 million actives at the end of last year.

Twitter’s 2012 revenues actually surpassed most estimates, but I was hoping for a bigger number. And the lack of profitability is still concerning. Sure, their net loss actually improved between 2011 and 2012, but 2013’s numbers are still negative, despite another revenue pickup. Through the first six months of this year, Twitter posted $253 million in revenues, but lost $69 million. That’s just $10 million short of the entire year’s losses in 2013.

The best and most important numbers for Twitter are in mobile. Three-quarters (75 percent) of active users now access the network via a mobile device (smartphone or tablet), and two-thirds (65 percent) of ad revenues come from mobile. These are huge numbers, and Twitter expects them to grow. And I believe that they will, and the mobile space will become of absolute importance for Twitter’s future as a business.

According to the registration Twitter has $165 million in cash available, spending $38 million in the past six months, and $75 million in the final six months of 2012. That’s a pretty high burn rate, which means that the timing for this IPO, and the cash fuel-injection it will provide, really couldn’t have come any sooner. Still, while I continue to believe that Twitter’s stock market debut will be a positive experience, with these figures it’s unlikely to be quite as dazzling as we might have once hoped.

(Image credit: Reuters.)