Although Twitter Q1 revenue was up 74 per cent, year-on-year, to $435.9 million, it was below the firm’s own estimates, while a $162 million loss was 23 per cent greater than in Q1 2014.
Twitter now projects full-year 2015 revenue of between $2.17 billion and $2.27 billion, down from its earlier forecast of $2.3 billion to $2.35 billion.
Adding to Twitter’s difficulties, its latest quarterly results were discovered by tech start-up Selerity before they were officially due to be announced, giving investors plenty of time to digest the missed revenue target and greater losses. Around 20 per cent in value was knocked off Twitter’s share price before yesterday’s close of trading.
Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo pinned some of the blame for the revenue shortfall on “lower-than-expected contribution from some of our newer direct response products”.
Direct response ads are advertisements that resemble tweets, and let users click on them and take an action, such as downloading an app.
“It is still early days for these products, and we have a strong pipeline that we believe will drive increased value for direct response advertisers in the future,” added the CEO.
Advertising revenue totaled $388 million in Q1 – of which mobile advertising accounted for 89 per cent – which was a 72 per cent year-on-year increase.
EBITDA, on an adjusted basis, totaled $104 million during Q1, above the previously forecast range of $89 million to $94 million, giving an adjusted EBITDA margin of 24 per cent.
“We remain confident in our strategy and in Twitter’s long-term opportunity, and our focus remains on creating sustainable shareholder value by executing against our three priorities: strengthening the core, reducing barriers to consumption and delivering new apps and services,” said Costolo.
With the aim of strengthening its direct response capabilities, Twitter announced an agreement to acquire TellApart, a marketing technology company providing retailers and e-commerce advertisers with unique cross-device retargeting capabilities through dynamic product ads and email marketing.
Twitter also announced a partnership with Google’s DoubleClick platform to improve advertising performance measurement and attribution for Twitter direct response marketers.
As part of the partnership, Twitter will also make its inventory available through the DoubleClick Bid Manager, making it easier for clients who prefer to centralise their buying through DBM to create and manage campaigns on Twitter.