Twitter (NYSE: TWTR) has been on a roll. After the company reported its first profit ever and returned to growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, growth accelerated as all of its major products and geographies saw improvement. As a result, Twitter shares have surged, rising 87% year to date.
This performance puts pressure on quarterly results later this month. With such an impressive run-up in the rearview mirror, the stock may be more susceptible to a meaningful pullback if the company fails to meet expectations when it reports its second-quarter results. Here's an overview of two important areas to watch when the latest quarterly figures go live.
Strong revenue and earnings-per-share growth
In Twitter's first quarter, revenue growth accelerated significantly, from 2% year-over-year growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 21% in Q1. Combining this reacceleration in Twitter's business with its skyrocketing stock price means investors have high hopes for more strong growth in Q2.
On average, analysts expect Twitter to report second-quarter revenue and non-GAAP earnings per share of $692 million and $0.16, up 21% and 100% from the year-ago quarter. Given the company's broad-based momentum across both products and geographies, these seem like reasonable estimates.
However, considering Twitter's recent ability to post results above analyst expectations, the social network may need to grow revenue at a faster rate than the 21% year-over-year growth in Q1 in order to keep impressing investors.
Double-digit growth in daily active users
In Twitter's first quarter, monthly active users increased 3% year over year -- well below the 13% growth in monthly active users Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) reported during the same period. But Twitter management wants investors to focus on its growth in daily active users, which were up 10% year over year -- much closer to Facebook's 13% year-over-year growth in daily active users during the same period.
"[O]ur focus continues to be to drive usage of Twitter as a daily utility," said Twitter CFO Ned Segal in the company's most recent earnings call when asked a question that related to its monthly active users. Management believes its daily active user growth gives investors better insight into the impact of its efforts to drive engagement on its platform.
In the first quarter, Twitter posted its sixth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in daily active users, highlighting its strong execution to improve user engagement. In addition, management said it saw double-digit growth in five out of 10 of its largest geographic markets during the period.
As a social network that is still far smaller than Facebook (2.2 billion monthly active users) and Facebook's Instagram (1 billion monthly active users), it's important for Twitter to continue to grow its base of engaged users at strong rates. Investors, therefore, should look for more double-digit year-over-year growth in Twitter's daily active users in Q2. In addition, investors should look for it to maintain its 3% year-over-year growth in monthly active users.
Twitter plans to announce its second-quarter results before market open on July 27.
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