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Twitter’s mDAUs grow 27% YoY to 192 million, company expects ‘modest impact’ from iOS changes

Courtesy: Twitter

Twitter’s monetisable daily active users, better known as mDAUs, grew 192 million, up 40 million (or 27% YoY) in the quarter ended December 31, 2020. This number grew by 5 million over the previous quarter. Of the total mDAUs, 37 million and 155 million were in the US and in geographies outside the US, respectively. International mDAUs increased by 28% YoY from 121 million. mDAUs grew 21% YoY in the US.

The increase in mDAUs through end of January was above historical average for the last four years. The company expects mDAU growth of 21% YoY on Q1 2021. 

Growth from product improvements reached an “all-time high”, benefiting from increased conversation around COVID-19, the US elections, and other current events. “Early data suggests that these product improvements are enhancing the customer experience and resulted in improved retention, reduced churn, and greater mDAU growth in Q4,” the company said.  

  • iOS 14: Twitter expects Apple’s Appe Tracking Transparency privacy feature to have a “modest impact” on revenue. It expects revenue to grow faster than expenses in 2021 if the COVID-19 situation improves. Apple’s new privacy changes will require developers to get user permissions before tracking them across websites and apps using Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). Twitter announced the Click ID feature, that will help attribute a click from Twitter to an advertiser’s website without a cookie. Twitter has started implementing the SK Ad network.  
  • Topics: Twitter now has 6,000 topics that people can follow, with increased personalisation and notifications for new customers about Topics, and an expanded variety of Topics — including an expanded catalogue of TV shows and Hindi-language Topics. This drove a “meaningful increase” in the number of Tweets liked by customers who followed a Topic, with average engagement rates for topical Tweets more than 2X the engagement rate for Tweets from account-based follows in Q4. 
  • Fleets: Tests for Fleets this quarter in Brazil, Italy, India, and South Korea showed that people with Fleets are more likely to create more content in the form of Fleets, tweets, and Direct Messages than people without Fleets, “resulting in measurable increases” in both original content and content producers. 
  • US elections: Twitter said its warnings about delayed election results, pre-bunk prompts, among other steps ahead of the US elections were “highly effective” at  providing additional context, and that it will continue to apply labels on potentially misleading tweets. Twitter had started encouraging people to Quote Tweet, removed recommendations in timeline and notifications, and added context under ‘For You’ tab. But Quote Tweets did not appear to increase context and removing recommendations did not reflect a statistically significant difference in misinformation. Changes to ‘For You’ did reflect a significant decrease in reports, but also reduced its relevance since it placed a restriction on the number of Trends that could show. Twitter will continue to prioritise reviewing and adding context to “as many trends as possible”, but it won’t be a requirement for a Trend to appear under ‘For You’.
  • Advertising: advertisers increased investments in both brand and direct response. The rebuilt MAP (Mobile Application Promotion) was introduced and led to 80% increase in mobile app impressions.

Financial Snapshot

  • Revenue: $1.29 billion, up 28% YoY
  • Advertising revenue: $1.15 billion , up 31% YoY 
  • Data and licensing revenue: $134 million, an increase of 9% YoY 
  • US revenue: $733 million, up 24% YoY 
  • International revenue: $556 million, increase of 34% YoY 

Shareholder Letter | Release | Earnings Call Transcript

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