Twitter’s revenue increased by 7% to $3.72bn in 2020

By Robert Scammell

Social media firm Twitter saw its 2020 revenue climb by 7% year on year to $3.72bn as it beat Wall Street expectations for its fourth-quarter results.

In the final quarter of 2020 Twitter’s revenue totalled $1.29bn, a 28% year-on-year jump. Net income for the period was $222m, translating to diluted earnings per share of $0.27.

During Q4 Twitter reported 192 million monetisable daily active users worldwide, up from 152 million in the year-ago period.

These figures predate Twitter’s ban of former President Donald Trump in early January after he repeated baseless election conspiracies and incited the violent mob that attacked the Capitol on 6 January.

Trump has been one of Twitter’s most prolific users and with his 80-plus million followers he was a key driver of daily engagement on the site.

Despite this, Twitter said it expects to see daily user growth of 20% year on year.

For the full 2020 fiscal year, costs and expenses jumped by 19% to $3.69bn, which gave the microblogging site an operating income of $27m.

“2020 was an extraordinary year for Twitter. We are more proud than ever to serve the public conversation, especially in these unprecedented times,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a statement.

“We reported a 27% year-over-year increase in mDAU in Q4 2020, reaching an average of 192 million. Our product changes to date are promoting healthier conversations for those who use our service, including advertisers and partners, and we are excited about our plans to continue innovating in 2021.”

Looking ahead, Twitter said it expects to grow its headcount by more than 20% in 2021, with a focus on engineering, product, design and research roles.

The company also anticipates costs associated with the completion of a new data centre to support a growing audience.

It forecasts first-quarter revenue of $940m to $1.04bn.

Yuval Ben-Itzhak, president at social media marketing firm Socialbakers, said:

“In a bid to keep users engaged and brands spending, Twitter has been quietly focused on innovation in recent months: it recently acquired Squad, a virtual hang-out startup, and started testing its voice-based chat room feature Spaces. These innovations offer new ways for users to interact at a time when new market entrants, like Clubhouse, could eat into Twitter’s user base. This focus on innovation will be crucial if Twitter is to continue commanding a significant share of global ad budgets.

“However, while the platform has been lauded for its focus on stamping out misinformation and ‘digital pollution’ in recent years, it has come under fire in recent days for promoting vaccine conspiracy tweets. If Twitter wants to retain its crown as the leading platform for brand safety – and secure the ad dollars that come with that – it needs to right this wrong, and put strict measures in place to prevent it from happening again.”

Read more:  Twitter launches Birdwatch pilot to tackle misinformation


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