Twitter shows strong user, revenue growth in second quarter


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Angela Lang/CNET

The number of daily users logging onto Twitter  jumped 11% in the second quarter, demonstrating that people are still turning to the short-message service even as countries start reopening after coronavirus lockdowns.

The company said Thursday that daily users who can see ads, Twitter’s key metric for visitors, grew to 206 million in the quarter ending in June. Twitter attributed the strong year-over year growth to product improvements and interest in current events.

The rise in users helped the social media site, which makes most of its revenue from ads, post a 74% increase in quarterly revenue to $1.19 billion. The performance beat Wall Street expectations of $1.065 billion for the second quarter, according to analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.

Twitter earned 8 cents per share on GAAP basis. Excluding some items the company earned 20 cents per share.

Shares in Twitter shot 7% higher to $74.40 per share in after-hours trading.

“With the onset of the second wave of COVID-19 in India, Twitter emerged as a real-time lifeline as people turned to the service seeking and offering help to secure life-saving facilities, medicines, food, and credible information,” Twitter said in a statement.

Experimenting with new products

The strong performance comes as Twitter tries to move beyond its 280-character tweets, which have fundamentally changed the way politicians, celebrities and others communicate with the world. The company has experimented with live audio, exclusive content and newsletters to help its users share their thoughts broadly.

The company hopes the new products, some of which allow for payments, will give it new ways to make money outside of ads, which make up the bulk of Twitter’s revenue.

For example, Twitter has been testing a way for users to charge money for tickets to exclusive live audio chats, part of a live audio product called Spaces. Twitter is also testing Super Follows, allowing users to charge a monthly subscription fee for extra content. The company will take a cut based on the amount of user earnings.

Twitter said it won’t take more than 3% cut until a user earns a total of $50,000 from both products. After that, Twitter’s cut will increase to up to 20%. 

The company tried using ads to monetize Fleets, a format that mimicked competitor Snap’s flagship product and allowed users to post videos, photos and text that disappear in 24 hours. The product, however, isn’t being widely used and will be shuttered in August.

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