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Twitter Withdraws Guidance, Citing Coronavirus

By Rich Smith - Mar 24, 2020 at 1:40PM

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Traffic on Twitter has never been stronger, but it won't make Twitter profitable in Q1.

Reporting earnings two months ago, social media network Twitter (TWTR -1.08%) reported its first-ever quarter with $1 billion in revenue. CEO Jack Dorsey promised to "build[] on our momentum," growing Twitter's headcount by 20% in 2020. The company predicted a sequential drop in Q1 revenues, however, to somewhere between $825 million and $885 million, with operating profits of as much as $30 million -- or as little as nothing.

Now, even those promises are gone.

Twitter's blue bird icon

Image source: Twitter.

Late Monday, Twitter announced that it is "withdrawing its revenue and operating income guidance for the first quarter of 2020, as well as its outlook for expenses, stock-based compensation, headcount, and capital expenditures for the full year due to the growing impact of COVID-19 on the global operating and economic environment and their effect on advertiser demand."

Coronavirus, it seems, has changed everything. 

Instead of the specifics given two months ago, Twitter is now only able to say that it "expects Q1 revenue to be down slightly on a year-over-year basis [and] to incur a GAAP operating loss."

Explaining its decision to withdraw guidance, Twitter said "the near-term financial impact of this pandemic is rapidly evolving and difficult to measure, based on current visibility." The good news is that "COVID-19 disruption" has "reduced expenses" at Twitter. The bad news is that this is "unlikely to fully offset the revenue impact of the pandemic in Q1."

If there's a silver lining for Twitter, it's that the coming of Coronavirus and self-quarantine has made its service more relevant than ever. Dorsey commented: "Twitter's purpose is to serve the public conversation, and in these trying times our work has never been more critical."

And as users flock to Twitter, total monetizable DAU (mDAU) is up 23% year over year, "quarter-to-date" at "approximately 164 million."

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