Twitter debuts 'monetizable' metric for its 126M users
- Twitter for the first time reported monetizable daily active usage (mDAU) in its quarterly earnings report to show how its audience is linked to growing revenue. The social network said mDAU grew 1.6% to 126 million in Q4 2018 from the prior quarter and 9% from a year earlier, per an announcement.
- Twitter pointed out that its daily user count only applies to users that can see ads. Revenue rose 24% to $908.8 million in the fourth quarter, a typically busy season of holiday-related advertising.
- Twitter will stop reporting its monthly users, the metric it has disclosed for years, after the current quarter. Monthly users fell 2.7% to 321 million in Q4 2018 from a year earlier and 1.5% from the prior quarter.
Twitter is positioning its monetizable DAU metric as setting it apart from other digital media platforms by providing a narrower but more direct assessment of user value. At the same time, Twitter likely is also interested in presenting a better picture of its user metrics by not inviting comparisons with larger rivals like Facebook, which has 1.52 billion daily users, and a younger competitor like Snap, with 186 million daily users. Twitter will be hard-pressed to boost daily users from a shrinking group of monthly users, but the company still managed to report its first full year of profitability as a public company.
"Advertisers will now be able to view the number of ‘monetizable’ Daily Active Users (mDAU), which stands in solid opposition with Facebook’s recent announcement that it will be merging its metrics across its 'family' of apps including WhatsApp and Instagram, and no longer reporting on individual Facebook user figures," Josh Krichefski, CEO at MediaCom, said in an emailed statement shared with Mobile Marketer.
Twitter's Q4 revenue growth reflects the success of recent efforts focused on cleaning up content on the platform, forming media partnerships and building engagement, Krichefski added. A strong performance by video ad formats on Twitter in Q4 is also noteworthy, said the CEO, who noted that it will be crucial for Twitter to continue to show it can deliver innovation, safety and value in 2019.
Twitter has worked to clean up its platform to make it safer for brands after CEO Jack Dorsey pledged to reduce the amount of abuse on its platform. The company forecast that its operating expenses will jump 20% this year to boost headcount, thwart abusive behavior and add new features. That spending may be paying off, as brands like Frank's Red Hot, Busch and Snickers have recently run social media campaigns that rely on Twitter. It also began testing programmatic ad buying via outside platforms and agency trading desks.