Twitter delivered signs of a turnaround in its fortunes Thursday – narrowing its losses and showing signs toward profitability. The social network, which has struggled to keep pace with rivals, said it could show its first net profit in the coming quarter if the latest trends continue.
Twitter posted a loss of $21 million (roughly Rs. 137 crores) in the third quarter, a marked improvement from the $103 million (roughly Rs. 668 crores) deficit a year ago. Revenues were $590 million (roughly Rs. 3,827 crores), a decrease of four percent from a year ago but not as bad as analysts had feared for the one-to-many messaging platform. In a statement, Twitter said it would “likely” show its first net profit in the fourth quarter if growth reaches the high end of its target.
Twitter also disclosed in its quarterly earnings report that it had discovered an error in the way it had calculated the size of its user base since 2014 and revised its estimates downward, but that the difference amounted to less than 1 percent.
The company said it had 330 million monthly active users in the quarter ended on September 30, up 4 million from a quarter earlier, helped by greater use of email and push notifications to point people toward tweets they want to read. And Twitter said daily active users – a metric for which it has declined to offer details – rose 14 percent from last year.
In the United States, where growth had stalled earlier this year, the number of users rose to 69 million from 68 million, the company said.
Analysts on average had expected 330.4 million monthly active users worldwide and 69 million in the United States, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet.
Twitter said the error in past user estimates was caused when it wrongly counted people who logged into applications associated with the company’s Fabric software platform, which Twitter sold this year to Alphabet’s Google.
“We’re proud that the improvements we’re making to the product continue to bring people back to Twitter on a daily basis,” chief executive Jack Dorsey said.
“It’s our job to help people stay informed about what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about, and we’re focused on making our service faster, easier to use and more relevant to more people every day.”
While Twitter has built a solid core base of celebrities, politicians and journalists, it has failed to achieve the broader appeal of Facebook and other social platforms, hurting its ability to bring in ad revenues.
Twitter has stepped up efforts to boost its user base and engagement, notably with video partnerships, as part of its turnaround efforts. In this space, it is concentrating on live-streaming deals, including broadcasts of concerts, professional golfing events and news programs.
Last month, Twitter began a test of tweets that are as long as 280 characters, double the existing cap, to allow people to better express themselves.
The company also is diversifying its revenue further beyond advertising. Revenue from data licensing and other sources was $87 million in the third quarter, up 22 percent from a year earlier, Twitter said, adding that it signed “a significant number of new enterprise deals” in the quarter.