【英语财经】Twitter用户增幅令投资者失望 Twitter hit as user numbers disappoint

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2014-4-30 17:23

小艾摘要: Shares in Twitter dropped 11 per cent to their lowest since the messaging platform’s initial public offering when it failed to reverse a trend of slow user growth, shaking investor confidence that it ...
Twitter hit as user numbers disappoint
Shares in Twitter dropped 11 per cent to their lowest since the messaging platform’s initial public offering when it failed to reverse a trend of slow user growth, shaking investor confidence that it could ever grow to the size of Facebook.

The home of the 140-character message suffered in after-hours trading when it reported first-quarter results which beat analyst expectations but disappointed on user numbers, which edged up only to 255m from 241m last quarter. Twitter reported revenue of $250m, higher than the average analyst estimate of $241.5m. The net loss, on a GAAP basis, was $132,000.

Dick Costolo, Twitter’s chief executive, said it was a “very strong first quarter”.

“Revenue growth accelerated on a year-over-year basis fuelled by increased engagement and user growth.”

He dismissed the share price reaction, saying much of it was connected to the recent sell-off in technology stocks. “There are some more secular trends,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. “A number of companies have had some fairly exceptional earnings and their stock has dropped so I’m not sure what might be happening.”

Despite the stock’s precipitous fall, he said he thought Wall Street understood Twitter’s message and plans for the year.

Mr Costolo stressed that Twitter’s “reach and impact” stretched beyond Twitter and investors should look instead at the “larger platform strategy”.

Mr Costolo said that Twitter’s mobile advertising exchange, using the MoPub acquisition, was “very different” from what Facebook is expected to launch tomorrow. “Our advertising exchange is a platform meaning we can plug in any number of sources of supply and demand which is different from the ad network that Facebook may announce tomorrow or any other network,” he said. Facebook’s network could possibly be plugged into Twitter’s exchange.

“With the integration of MoPub, we now reach more than 1bn iOS and Android users each month, making us one of the largest in-app mobile ad exchanges in the world and the only one at scale to offer native in-app advertising,” he said.

Mr Costolo also said Twitter would improve its private messaging function, which will help it compete with chat apps, particularly in regions where private conversation is “culturally looked upon as more valuable”.

Twitter issued forecasts for the next quarter and full year which were in line with analyst expectations. It predicted revenue from $270m to $280m in the second quarter, with adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation from $25m to $30m. For the full year, the company forecast $1.2bn to $1.25bn in revenues with adjusted ebitda of $180m to $205m.

Twitter shares were hit hard in the recent sell-off in high-growth tech stocks, falling almost 40 per cent in the past three months. The stock suffered in January after its first-ever earnings call when investors were unconvinced it had a plan that would significantly grow its user base.

On Tuesday, the company said average monthly active users increased 25 per cent year over year but only 6 per cent quarter on quarter. This was a slight increase from the 4 per cent quarter-on-quarter rate in the fourth quarter of 2013 but not dramatic enough to please investors. Mobile users made up 78 per cent of the total.

The San Francisco-based company has been busy tweaking the platform to make it easier to understand, even taking inspiration from rival Facebook. It has been focusing especially on changing the joining up process so people can get started more quickly.

However, the company, which went public in November last year, has had some early success in generating revenue from the platform. By selling promoted tweets, native advertising that sits in the feed, and focusing on tie-ups with TV advertising and live events, it has convinced some marketers that it is a medium worth paying for – even if it does not have the scale of Facebook, which enjoys 1.2bn users.

Mr Costolo responded to a story in the Financial Times, where NBCUniversal’s head of research said that social media was “not a game changer” in influencing television viewing. He said there was plenty of data to show a “two-way complementary relationship between Twitter and TV”.

Twitter is also experimenting with other funding models, launching a mobile advertising network which deploys Twitter data to sell ads on other apps. Adam Bain, Twitter’s head of revenue, says it could learn from Asian social media companies which convince users to pay for services rather than rely on advertising.

Twitter发布的最新业绩显示其未能扭转用户数增长放缓的局面,令投资者对该公司规模赶上Facebook的信心发生动摇。Twitter股价应声下跌11%,降至上市后的最低点。

Twitter今年一季度业绩超出分析师预期,营收达到2.50亿美元,高于多数分析师预测的2.415亿美元。根据美国通用会计准则(GAAP),Twitter净亏损高达1.32亿美元。不过最令人失望的是新增用户数量——Twitter用户数仅仅从上一季度的2.41亿增长到本季度的2.55亿。在这一消息影响下,该公司股价在盘后交易中大跌。

Twitter首席执行官迪克?科斯特洛(Dick Costolo)称,该公司“第一季度表现强劲”。

“在用户活跃度和人数不断增长的刺激下,营收增长速度超过了去年同期。”

他表示对股价下跌不以为意,认为这在很大程度上与高科技股份近期的抛售有关。在接受英国《金融时报》采访时,他表示:“许多公司在股价下跌的同时盈利状况相当不错,因此我无法断定接下来会发生什么。”他还认为,华尔街能够理解Twitter传递出的信号,以及Twitter为今年制定的计划。

科斯特洛强调,Twitter的“影响范围及影响力”已超出Twitter本身,投资者应该从“更大的平台战略”角度考察Twitter。

此外,Twitter还发布了对下一季度和全年的业绩预测,这一预测与分析师的预期一致。Twitter预计第二季度营收将从2.7亿美元增至2.8亿美元,息税折旧及摊销前利润(Ebitda)将从2500万美元增至3000万美元。对于今年全年,Twitter预计营收将从12亿美元增至12.5亿美元,而息税折旧及摊销前利润将从1.8亿美元增至2.05亿美元。

在最近的高增长型高科技股票抛售潮中,Twitter遭遇严重打击,过去3个月股价下跌近40%。在今年1月Twitter首次就业绩召开的电话会议上,投资者曾对该公司是否能大幅提高用户基数提出质疑,自那之后该公司股票一直低迷。

周二,Twitter表示其活跃用户月平均人数同比增长了25%,而比起上一季度只增长了6%。虽然环比增幅略高于2013年第四季度的4%,却不足以让投资者们兴奋。此外,在该网站的全部用户中,移动用户占了78%。

这家总部驻旧金山的即时消息网站一直在忙于调整技术平台,使其更易于使用,为此它甚至会从竞争对手Facebook那里汲取灵感。比如它一直在修改注册过程,以便让人们更便捷地访问该网站。

此外,Twitter还在试验其他收费模式,它发布了一个移动广告网络,能利用Twitter数据在其他应用上销售广告。Twitter营收主管亚当?贝恩(Adam Bain)还表示,Twitter将向亚洲社交媒体企业学习,如何说服用户为服务付费,而不是依赖广告。

译者/简易

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