Twitter makes first ever quarterly profit

8 February 2018, 13:15

Twitter has posted its first quarterly profit in history, just a year after reporting a massive loss.

The social media platform reported fourth-quarter net income of $91.1m (£64.97m), marking a comeback from the $167.1m loss reported the previous year.

Revenue rose 2% year-on-year to $731.6m, the first increase since the fourth quarter of 2016.

The social media platform said the revenue growth was "driven by continued strong engagement growth, improved revenue features, improved ROI (return on investment), and better sales execution".

The company said: "(We) made significant operational and financial progress in 2017, delivering sustained growth in audience and engagement and improved financial performance throughout the year.

"We identified our most critical priorities and ensured that our resources were directed towards them.

"Our disciplined execution against these priorities led to steady top-line recovery and net margin improvement as the year progressed, putting us in a considerably stronger position as we head into 2018."

Shares soared by 26% in pre-market trading in the US on Thursday, beating Wall Street's cautious expectations. nearing close of Thursday trading, they were up 14%.

However, Twitter is still facing problems such as the use of its platform for abuse, fake accounts and Russian bots.

On its own Twitter account, the company said: "We are committed to making Twitter safer, and we are clarifying our policies, improving our enforcement and communicating more clearly."

One of its other main problems is that user numbers are largely stagnant.

Twitter reported 330 million monthly active users for the quarter, a 4% increase from a year earlier but flat compared to the third quarter.

Even the attention brought to the micro-blogging site by US President Donald Trump regularly broadcasting his thoughts has not been enough to stem the exodus of US users.

That number was 68 million in the fourth quarter, down from 69 million the previous quarter.

In a letter to shareholders, Twitter said future revenue priorities include improving core ad offerings through better performance and measurement, including ad platform improvements, self-serve measurement studies and third-party accreditation.

It said that value for advertisers had "continued to improve and was driven by ongoing engagement growth, improved products, better ad relevance and better pricing".

Overall ad engagements increased by 75%.