UPDATED: A lot of things are up in the air at Twitter, including the choice of a CEO to replace Dick Costolo, who left at the beginning of this month. But investors can relax a little with the just-released Q2 numbers — saving the company from the kind of stock collapse it saw after it unveiled disappointing Q1 results.
“Our Q2 results show good progress in monetization, but we are not satisfied with our growth in audience,” interim CEO Jack Dorsey says. “In order to realize Twitter’s full potential, we must improve in three key areas: ensure more disciplined execution, simplify our service to deliver Twitter’s value faster, and better communicate that value.”
Twitter reported a net loss of $136.7 million, a 5.5% improvement from the quarter last year, on revenues of $502.4 million, up 60.9%. The top line was far ahead of the $481.3 million that analysts expected, and the $485 million that the company projected. Factoring out one-time expenses, earnings came in at 7 cents a share, also beating the Street’s 4 cents forecast.
Ad sales increased 63% to $452 million — and would have been up 71% if you compensate for the impact of the strong dollar. Mobile sales accounted for 88% of ads. Sales in the U.S. rose 53% to $321 million while international was up 78% to $181 million.
Twitter shares gyrated in post-market trading — initially rising, but then dropping about 6.8% as investors focused on disappointing user numbers. Twitter had 316 million average monthly active users, a 15% from last year’s quarter. But if you take out its SMS Fast Followers, the number’s up just 12% to 304 million.
Dorsey told analysts, in a conference call (with video fed through the company’s Periscope platform), that he’s mulling a change to present tweets in order of their relevance to the user instead of reverse chronological order. The company has a test, Project Lightning — to be launched in the fall — that would cover live events with a combination of tweets, user videos from Periscope, and other content.
Execs also say that they want to simplify the interface to attract people who don’t want to hassle with Twitter’s collection of hashtags and other symbols.
Users should “expect Twitter to be as easy as looking out your window to see what’s happening” and “keep you informed and updated throughout your day,” Dorsey says. He wants to make Twitter “the first thing people check when they start their day.”