Micro-blogging site Twitter has come a long way from its initial days, holding the hands of pioneers like Jack Dorsey. Dorsey’s career with Twitter has been an inconsistent one – he was removed in 2008 but returned to the post seven years later – and last year, he stepped down from his role once again. Let us see how Twitter fared in the winter quarter of 2021, the first for Parag Agarwal, Dorsey’s successor as Twitter CEO.
For his part, Agarwal deemed its performance in 2021 to be a strong one, which positions the company to improve execution and deliver on its 2023 goals. The company maintains its goals of having 315 million average monetizable daily active users in the fourth quarter of 2023 and $7.5 billion in revenue for the entire year and is confident that it will achieve them.
2021 saw Twitter pocket $5.08 billion in revenue, an increase of 37% annually. In Q4, it generated $1.57 billion in revenue (falling short of the estimated $1.58 billion), an annual increase of 22%. This was “driven by ongoing revenue product improvements, solid sales execution, and a broad, continued increase in advertiser demand.”
Its advertising revenue in the same period yielded $1.41 billion in revenue while operating income and operating margin for the same period came at $167 million and 11% respectively.
Twitter saw $182 million being generated in net income and diluted EPS of 0.21 in Q4, while there was a net loss of $221 million in the overall year and diluted EPS of -$0.28. Its operating loss for FY2021 came at $493 million.
In Q4, the company added 217 million average monetizable daily active users (average mDAUs), which is a growth of 14% and an increase from the 192 million it added in the same period of the previous year. Breaking down the numbers, we find that there were 38 million average mDAUs and 179 million average mDAUs in Q4 2021. This, however, falls short of the estimated 218 million.
This was driven by improvements in products and global conversations around current events, according to Twitter.
“In Q4, we continued our work to make Twitter the best place for people to keep up with and discuss their interests through improved personalization and better onboarding with Topics. Approximately 280 million accounts now follow at least one Topic, with more than 14,500 Topics available across 11 languages. We also improved the personalization of Topic notifications and recommendations and began requiring interest selection as part of the sign-up flow for new accounts. This resulted in reduced churn, increased engagement, and a higher number of account follows for new accounts,” reads the shareholders’ letter for Q4 2021.
Going forward, Twitter expects to pocket $1.17-1.27 billion in total revenue in the first quarter of this year.
Additionally, Twitter has announced a new $4 billion share buyback program. Twitter intends to enter into a $2 billion accelerated share repurchase (ASR) and repurchase the remaining $2 billion over time.
Despite these numbers, Twitter has failed to beat the estimates on some segments such as revenue and new users. According to Twitter CFO Ned Segal, revenue in the winter quarter was impacted by a slowdown in advertiser spending in the last couple of weeks of the period.