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Twitter Impresses With Surging Growth: 5 Must-See Metrics

By Daniel Sparks – Jul 23, 2021 at 8:43AM

Key Points

  • Though total revenue soared, advertising revenue grew even faster.
  • Management has plans to spend significantly more this year than last year.
  • Twitter's revenue guidance suggests there's more strong growth ahead.

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Even Twitter's surging top line understates the momentum in its core business.

Social network Twitter (TWTR) is benefiting from strong product execution and a rebounding economy. On Thursday afternoon, the tech company reported revenue far ahead of analyst estimates. Momentum was broad-based, with "better-than-expected performance across all major products and geographies," Twitter said in its second-quarter shareholder letter. 

To take a closer look at the company's quarterly performance, here are five key metrics from its earnings release.

A person looking at her smartphone while drinking coffee.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. Soaring revenue

Total revenue increased 74% year over year, helping the company's top line come in at $1.19 billion. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of $1.07 billion. 

Notably, however, this growth rate understates the company's momentum in its core business. Advertising revenue, which represents the bulk of Twitter's total revenue, grew 87% year over year. A slower growth rate of 13% in the company's "data licensing and other" segment weighed on Twitter's reported growth rate.

Of course, investors should keep in mind that Twitter's strong top-line growth rate was bolstered by an easy comparison in the pandemic-stricken year-ago quarter, when revenue declined 19% year over year. 

2. Double-digit user growth

Twitter's monetizable daily active users increased by 7 million sequentially and 20 million year over year, translating to a year-over-year growth rate of 11%.

This growth, Twitter said in its second-quarter update, was "driven by ongoing product improvements and global conversation around current events."

3. Headwinds for user growth domestically

But Twitter's monetizable daily active users in the U.S. declined by 1 million sequentially. Helping explain this weakness, management notes the quarter featured "lighter news cycles in the U.S. as well as the beginning of reopening across many communities, where consumer behavior likely hasn't normalized."

Longer-term, however, management said it is confident its user growth in the U.S. (and internationally) will accelerate.

4. Aggressive spending

To capitalize on the company's momentum, Twitter plans to spend aggressively in 2021.

"We now expect headcount, along with total costs and expenses, to grow 30% or more for the full year of 2021 with a focus on engineering and product," Twitter said.

Importantly, management also noted that it expects revenue growth to outpace its expense growth.

5. Robust guidance

Management guided for third-quarter revenue of $1.22 billion to $1.30 billion, with the midpoint of this range representing 62% year-over-year growth.

Overall, there was a lot to like from Twitter's second-quarter update. The company is benefiting from a range of product catalysts, a broad increase in advertiser demand, and strong momentum across every geography. No wonder management provided optimistic guidance.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. His clients may own shares of the companies mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Twitter. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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