Twitter continues to bumble its way through the digital marketing landscape with its latest performance report showing an increase of 17% in Q3 users. This was, however, extremely slowed growth, despite an increase in YoY revenue.
In a somewhat unprecedented move, Twitter created its own metric to report on; monetisable daily active users (mDAU). The mDAU stat, which it first introduced in its Q4 ’18 report, is, as Twitter says, a more accurate measure of actual platform performance. This is because only users to whom Twitter can show ads are counted, as opposed to just an overall user count.
Their own metric?
Twitter’s creation of its own metric has split the marketing community into two divided groups. On one hand, reporting mDAU, as opposed to MAU (monthly active users) or DAU (daily active users), should represent the platform’s real reach for advertisers more accurately. This is likely a more accountable data point for market analysts. On the other hand, by using its own metric, Twitter avoids direct comparison to other platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, which have far higher counts.
However, even if we take Twitter’s own metric as gospel, its 145M DAU puts the company well below Snapchat (210M DAU), Instagram (500M) and Facebook (1.6B). This, of course, pits Twitter’s mDAU against regular DAU. How many of the DAU on other platforms are monetisable though, we don’t know.
Onto the revenue side of things however, Twitter has a problem.
At first glance it may seem a strong result, revenue is growing YoY. An irrefutable positive result. However, when examined with wider context, we can see that growth has actually fallen drastically since Q3 ‘18.
This is well below market expectations and Twitter’s stock has seen a downturn as a result. Twitter has put this down to “revenue product issues and greater-than-expected seasonality”.
But what of their advertising platform?
Cast your mind back to earlier this month… Twitter was pushed into issuing an apology for utilising personal information which had been provided by users for account security purposes. This data was then used to match those people with more relevant ads. This was due to a fault in its MAP targeting system. Twitter has since stopped such practices – and in fact, did so back in August, when the problem was first discovered. But that has also left it with fewer options for ad targeting. And it doesn’t have a replacement system just yet, putting marketers and advertisers in a sticky situation when it comes to choosing an advertising platform.
Twitter needs to be able to refocus their efforts on improving their ad platform to rectify the decline in growth, as, without this, advertisers will move away from the platform one by one. Hopefully, amendments can be made to get back on track for Q4 and 2020.
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