Twitter Records First Ever Quarterly Profit

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Revenue from Japan rose 34 percent to US$106 million.

"They are showing the right tweets to the right people at the right time, and as you do that, not only do you drive consumers to use Twitter more, but you attract more and more advertisers to want to be on the platform", said analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG Research. Twitter said the change at first did in fact encourage people to write longer posts, but it turns out there was no need to panic.

Twitter said it had an average of 330 million monthly active users in the final three months of past year, unchanged from the previous quarter and below Wall Street's estimate of 333 million. In large part, the company blamed its modest MAU figures on continued efforts to curb spam, fake accounts, and other bad actors. But the number of users is stagnating.

The company also cited higher video ad sales and redesigned ad formats as helping to grow revenue.

On its own Twitter account, the company said: "We are committed to making Twitter safer, and we are clarifying our policies, improving our enforcement and communicating more clearly". Monthly users in the USA averaged 68 million for the period, up 2% year-over-year and a decrease of 1 million quarter-over-quarter, reflecting the impact of the change in Safari. After beating Q4 revenue estimates by about $50 million, revenue numbers should jump.

The social media site reported net income of $91m (£65m), compared with a loss of more than $167m (£119m) during the same period previous year. During the same period past year, the company earned $0.11 earnings per share. Ten analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, twenty-one have issued a hold rating and nine have issued a buy rating to the company's stock.

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And the company's gains seem to be coming from getting more of its users to come back to its service more often, rather than by substantially increasing its total number of users, said James Cakmak, a financial analyst with Monness, Crespi, Hardt, in a research note. "This is all about really looking at the potential of revenue growth as they scale and leverage their cost structure", he said. By contrast, Facebook has 2.2 billion and Instagram has more than 800 million.

Dorsey told analysts on a conference call that he was not planning a search to replace Anthony Noto, who is leaving as chief operating officer to become CEO of online lender Social Finance Inc and whose duties have been absorbed by others.

Excluding certain one-time expenses, Twitter earned 19 cents per share in the fourth quarter, above expectations of 14 cents per share.

That came even as social media companies are grappling with a regulatory backlash in Europe and the United States over privacy, possible user addiction, hate speech and alleged abuse of by Russian Federation to sway foreign elections.

Twitter reported a quarterly profit in Q4 for the first time since its public listing.

Shares of the social media giant rocketed more than 25% this morning following the report, which showed the service is actually able to generate a profit on a GAAP basis.

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