In a surprising turn of events, Twitter’s Q1 results have beat earning expectations, triggering a rise in share prices.

Twitter’s Q1 results, published today, show an 18% year-over-year total revenue growth and 11% year-over-year growth in monetisable daily active usage (mDAUs), with total ad engagements increased 23% year-over-year.

The company’s earnings of $787m beats estimates of $776.1m, and has seen shares rise by 14%.

This follows a rocky year for the company, after Twitter’s results from 2018 showed that monthly active users fell to 321 million in the fourth quarter from 326 million in the third quarter.

This led to fears that users were turning away from the social media platform, after user numbers hit their lowest for two years.

But things appear to be looking up, and this year the company reported 134 million average mDAUs for the first quarter, compared with 120 million a year earlier. This contradicts Wall Street’s prediction that the site would lose 2.2 million users during the quarter.

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However, average monthly active users still fell by six million, to were 330 million for Q1, compared to 336 million in the same period of the previous year.

This follows the site’s public commitment to reducing the number of fake accounts on the site. According to The Washington Post, in May and June of last year Twitter reportedly suspended around 70 million accounts in an ongoing attempt to reduce the number of spam or suspicious accounts.

Moving forward, the company is focusing on the launch of its public prototype app twttr, a space for the company to try out new ideas and receive feedback from “testers”, with the goal of enabling conversations that are “faster, more fluid and more fun”.

Twitter’s Q1 results show a company that has turned a corner

Dr Ben Marder, Senior Lecturer in Marketing at University of Edinburgh Business School, believes that Twitter’s Q1 results show that the company has turned a corner, listened to its users concerns and is set for a strong 2019:

“Twitter’s winter of discontent appears to be over. After a solid recovery at the end of 2018, the sun is now out and the Twitter birds are merrily tweeting with the announcement of extremely encouraging Q1 results. Daily active users were up 11% year-on-year and an impressive 8m from the previous quarter, showing the strength of Twitter’s core offering and signalling that the platform has truly secured its place among social media giants.

He believes that this was in part due to Twitter’s efforts to stamp out trolling on Twitter, especially embracing cutting edge technology to do this. In Twitter’s Q1 results, the company reported that the site is removing 2.5x more Tweets that share personal information and 38% of abusive Tweets that are taken down every week are being proactively detected by machine learning models:

“Twitter is increasingly a battle ground for political discussion and a transmitter of social movements such as #metoo, which brings its own challenges. Like all the other giants at the feast (Facebook), humble pie has been eaten recently over user protection, though it seems Twitter has learnt from these criticisms. It has led the way with an algorithmic detection of abuse and has allowed users more control over their conservation, while cleverly walking the tight rope of free speech.

Moving forward, he predicts that even though the site may have reached its peak in terms of monthly user numbers, the type of engagement on the site will continue to be valuable for both users and advertisers:

“My prediction is that 2019 will be a strong year for Twitter. Though it may have reached its natural peak in usership, there are reasons to be optimistic. Increased engagement, positive steps to protect users, efficient methods of monetising its offering and the continuation of brand identity focussed on societal change, will keep the birds chirping and the sun shining at Twitter HQ.”

Read more: Could declining user numbers actually be good for Twitter?