Twitter's getting destroyed in the markets today and this chart explains why
Twitter's earnings statement yesterday, its first since going public, revealed that the company added 9 million monthly active users in the last three months to bring its grand total to 241 million. That's a 3.8% increase over the previous quarter.
Is this good? Bad? To give you some context, we made a chart of Twitter's quarter-on-quarter user growth percentage over the past three years. The upshot of yesterday's news? It's pretty lousy:
Twitter's monthly active user growth has been decelerating now for five straight quarters following a period of steady though hardly stellar growth in 2012. And the market's taking notice: Despite beating analysts' estimates on revenue and earnings per share, Twitter's shares are currently down more than 20 percent today resulting in a loss of nearly $8 billion in market value.
Slowed user growth has also manifested itself in the number of tweets during major television events in 2014, as we observed on Monday after the Super Bowl:
Of course, user growth isn't the only factor contributing to Twitter's plummeting stock today. According to numerous analysts, Twitter's stock was wildly overvalued ahead of its earnings statement. As Pando's James Robinson wrote yesterday, "Leading into the stock announcement Twitter’s stock was trading at $66, more than twice what the Wall Street consensus was of its true value. The only guarantee following on from this announcement is a slump in stock price and a greater volume of panicky analysis around growth."
The trend of solid earnings despite dismal user growth is likely to continue. Twitter focused on growing its user base first and has only recently begun to monetize it. Whether or not it can achieve profitability and long-term sustainability without reinvigorating its user growth, however, is less certain.