Twitter’s stock collapsed after its Q1 2014 earnings call mainly because the social media company’s user metrics didn’t meet analysts’ expectations. That happened last time, on Twitter’s Q4 2013 call, too.
But there was a subtle difference between the two calls. On the previous call, Twitter’s investor relations staff tweeted out various charts showing the company’s performance over time.
This time around, Twitter IR did not tweet out this slide from the earnings presentation:
It shows the number of timeline views — users who look at their tweet streams, basically. It’s a measure of engagement, or how heavily focused on Twitter users are. The good news is that sequentially, timeline views are up. The bad news is that they’re actually still lower than they were in Q3 2013. In other words, Twitter engagement might — might — still be trending down.
Right now, TWTR is trading almost entirely on its user metrics, because CEO Dick Costolo delivered good financial results.
On the previous earnings call, Twitter IR tweeted out this chart and it became the focus of an unpleasant discussion between analysts and Costolo on the earnings call. This time around, the chart was only published in Twitter’s investor materials, not on the Twitter IR account itself.
And there is an even worse chart in Twitter’s slideshow for Q1:
This chart appears to show that timeline engagement among Twitter users has declined sequentially for three straight quarters among international users. That’s a disaster. Even in the US, timeline engagement is down in all of the last four quarters bar one.
Clearly, the user engagement issue is not fixed.
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