NEW YORK (AP) — You’d think Twitter would be able to milk its status as President Donald Trump’s megaphone. But the company still faces stagnant user growth, has never made a profit and even reported a quarterly revenue decline Wednesday, a first since going public.
Trump’s frequent tweets ricochet well beyond his 28 million Twitter followers. Anything he tweets can serve as fodder for social media, TV news shows and, often, late-night comedy. Analysts say Twitter’s user engagement — how often people respond, retweet or “like,” for instance — likely benefited from “political discourse” in the first quarter.
The problem: The people already on Twitter may well be using it more, but America’s first true “Twitter President” hasn’t inspired others to sign up for Twitter en masse. This could well be because they don’t have to. Thanks to Twitter’s public nature, anyone can read Trump’s posts (or any other posts as long as they are shared publicly, they don’t need an account to do so).
That said, Twitter’s quarterly results surpassed Wall Street’s modest expectations and, combined with an increase in both overall users daily usage, boosted the company’s beleaguered stock price.
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Twitter said Wednesday it had an average of 328 million monthly users during the first quarter, a 3 percent increase from 319 million during the previous quarter. By contrast, Facebook has 1.89 billion and Facebook-owned Instagram has 600 million monthly users as of December, the latest available. More users, of course, mean more advertising revenue for the companies, since businesses try to reach as many eyeballs as possible.
Twitter has never turned a profit, and for the first time since going public in 2013, it reported a decline in revenue from the previous year. Its revenue was $548.3 million, down 8 percent.
Net loss was $61.6 million, or 9 cents per share, compared with a loss of $79.7 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding stock compensation expenses and other one-time items, the company earned 11 cents per share in the latest quarter, down from 15 cents a year earlier.
Twitter beat Wall Street expectations for adjusted income of 2 cents on revenue of $517.3 million, according to FactSet. Twitter’s shares jumped $1.46, or 10 percent, to $16.13 in midday trading. The stock is still down 1 percent year-to-date, compared with a nearly 7 percent increase for the Standard & Poor’s 500…