What happened

Shares of Fluent (FLNT -0.89%), a data-driven digital marketing company, fell sharply on Wednesday. The stock declined as much as 20.3% at one point, but as of noon EST, the stock was down 16.5%.

The tech stock's decline followed Fluent's fourth-quarter results. Investors may be disappointed in the company's decelerating growth as it strategically repositions its business.

A chalkboard sketch of a chart showing a stock price declining.

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Total fourth-quarter revenue was $82 million, up 2.5% year over year, but a slowdown from 21% growth in the third quarter. 

Growth has decelerated as the company continues to execute on its initiative to limit its business to higher-quality advertising traffic. Management said in its fourth-quarter earnings call that it believes this move will pay off over the long haul, leading to "sustainable growth, notwithstanding a reduction in our near-term revenue profile during this transition."

Now what

Following the earnings report, Barrington Research analyst James Goss downgraded his rating on Fluent stock from outperform to market perform, noting that the company will likely see top- and bottom-line headwinds in the near term as it works through its strategic repositioning.