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Will Twitter Stock Move Higher?

Twitter  (NYSE: TWTR  )  has seen a good recovery in its stock price over the past few months, up from a dip below $30. However, the price is still extremely volatile as the company undergoes numerous changes. The company announced significant changes to its management team and is also focused on driving up revenues from newer sources. These two factors might drive up Twitter's fortunes in the future. 

Management shuffle
The social media company has recently gone through a number of changes to its leadership team, which might be a positive for the company's strategy in the future. Twitter's COO Ali Rowghani resigned from his role, however, he will continue to be a strategic advisor to the CEO. The COO's responsibilities will be assumed by others in the company's ranks. 

In addition, Twitter hired a senior TMT investment banker from Goldman Sachs, Anthony Noto, to be its CFO last week. And Twitter's old CFO Mike Gupta will be moving into a new position called Head of Strategic Investments. The Old CFO will likely be leading Twitter's future strategic investments in the related social media and technology verticals space. And also having a leading banker as a CFO will be very beneficial for Twitter due to the relationships that person will be able to bring to the table. 

And as a result, Twitter is a lot more likely to go on a small-scale acquisition spree just like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB  ) did in 2014 so far. Facebook continues to dive into newer arenas as the company acquired video ads technology company, Live Rail recently. And Twitter is likely to go on such a hunt with after its big shuffle in its management ranks. 

Future drivers
Besides the big overhauls in its management line-up, the company can grow revenues from at least two other sources -- by increasing ad loads on its platform and by growing its mobile advertising network, MoPub. Investors are however, concerned about the growth of the company's user base and engagement. 

Twitter's monetization of its own platform can see a significant boost in the future because the company's ad load is a lot lower relative to its peer Facebook. In other words, Twitter can increase the number of ads it shows on its micro-blogging site substantially without negatively impacting the experience of users. And as a result, Twitter's average revenue per user (ARPU) has the potential to rise to much higher levels.

In the last quarter, Twitter's ARPU stood at just shy of $1 per user. On the other hand, Facebook's ARPU in Q1 2014 stood at $2 per user, in spite of having a significantly larger customer base compared to Twitter. So with growth in ad loads on its platform, Twitter can potentially reach Facebook's quarterly ARPU level of $2 per user, without having to reach 1 billion plus users like Facebook. Twitter can come up with more ad products geared toward media and entertainment on its platform because of the real-time and conversational nature of Twitter. 

In addition, Twitter can significantly grow its revenues and earnings off-platform through MoPub. The mobile ad exchange is already one of the largest in-app ad exchange, and considering the growth of mobile devices and app development worldwide, MoPub has a significant runway of growth ahead. Just recently, MoPub signed a $230 million two year deal with ad agency Omnicom. 

As a result, there is sustained business momentum for Twitter, and it can continue its robust revenue growth without significant growth in consumer adoption. However, analysts and investors alike tend to be focused on evaluating Twitter's future prospects on user growth and engagement levels. 

Going forward
Twitter is still being used extensively around the world, and its newer revenue drivers can make meaningful contributions to the company's revenue growth trajectory. Twitter made a number of user interface changes to its site and that can be pre-cursor for sustained user engagement in the long-run.

Twitter's management laid out revenue projections for Q2 2014 to be in the range of $270 million-$280 million. And that implies a year-over-year revenue growth rate of more than 100%. And with the help of other monetization drivers like MoPub, Twitter can possibly sustain its high growth rate story for a few more years, and in the process make the company a lot more valuable. 

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8/27/2015 4:01 PM
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