Twitter stock, which has risen an un-tech-like 11% in 2019 so far as the company tries to work out kinks in its user experience, leaped 8% in the opening minutes of trading Friday on stellar second-quarter financial results.
The company reported quarterly revenue of $841 million, up 18% over the prior-year quarter and well ahead of Wall Street estimates for $822 million. Earnings per share hit 20 cents, edging estimates for 19 cents. Net income of $1.1 billion set a record for the company.
In reporting daily user levels, the social media giant delivered the biggest surprise. It said it reached 139 million “monetizable daily active users,” or MDAUs, in the period. That was 5 million more than in the first quarter, and 4 million better than Wall Street expected.
After experiencing volatility with projecting monthly user levels, while at the same time purging the platform of bot accounts and others in violation, the company stopped reporting monthly user numbers last spring. Earlier this week, Snapchat parent Snap Inc. reported 203 million daily active users, and Facebook 1.59 billion.
Twitter’s newly defined mission, according to CFO Ned Segal, is to help users “find what they’re looking for faster.” The company has rolled out a redesign of its app and sought to serve users content it considers more relevant. Twitter has also taken steps (though not enough, in the view of critics) to civilize the overall experience and weed out bad actors.
“Making these decisions impacts revenue in the near-term, but it ensures we are focused on the right things long term—delivering higher performing, better formats for our customers,” Segal said.
Advertising has become another key driver of financial results. Total ad revenue reached $727 million, an increase of 21% year-over-year.
The clean quarter is a change of pace for Twitter, which has spilled considerable amounts of red ink since going public in 2013.