Twitter stock declined over 14% after lacklustre growth in Q2

Twitter’s share price is getting battered once again: the company’s stock has tumbled by more than 14 percent in trading today, a day after the social media platform posted an earnings report that pointed to poor growth in user numbers both in logged in and logged out users; sluggish revenue; and mediocre projections for Q3.

The company’s stock went as low as $15.69 today and closed at $15.77, down 14.53 percent. That figure is well off its 52-week high of $36.67 from almost a year ago; and for those keeping track, Twitter’s market cap is now $10.95 billion, well below its IPO valuation of $18 billion; as investors who are not convinced about the company’s business projections continue to sell off shares.

From earlier today:

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The company yesterday reported a mixed Q2. While it better analysts’ estimates on earnings per share, its revenues of $602 million was less impressive — within the company’s own estimated range, but falling short of what analysts had expected.

More problematic is the direction the revenue is going: $602 million was largely unchanged from the previous quarter, and only about 20% higher than a year ago. The bulk of Twitter’s revenues come from advertising sales, and as Josh pointed out, key to the problem is that revenue growth is slowing down: a year ago, revenue figures were up 60% on the year previously.

Added to this is the fact that the company is today making a lot of deals to start bringing more content to the platform, specifically premium video content in sports. But for the moment, these are neutral deals at best when considering the business: the content — how it will look, whether people will really flock to watch it — is not fully rolled out; it’s not clear whether these deals are costing Twitter money just to get done; and they have yet to bear any near-term fruits in terms of ad sales.

Indeed, Twitter’s Q3 guidance is that it expects revenues in the range of $590 million and $610 million. The midpoint of that range is actually lower than Q2’s revenues.

Twitter’s user numbers are another issue for the company. Yesterday, the company noted that total monthly active users were only 313 million in Q2. That number was up only 3% on a year ago, which is not idea, but as Twitter likes to point out, it has many more “logged out” users who are not registered on the platform, dipping into Twitter to consume, if not engage, in the content.

However, even in this metric there seems to be a problem. CFO Anthony Noto yesterday noted during the Q2 analyst call that those users are totalling around 500 million — and the company is increasingly trying to monetise that user base, for example by tracking and following those users with ads and providing them with other features to get them to visit and stay for longer (and maybe, one day, register to be full users).

But one small detail that I noticed is that 500 million is actually the same number of logged out users that Twitter has been quoting for months. Does that mean that logged out users have stagnated, too?

(The company does not report daily active users, an issue that some analysts raised yesterday during the call, with Noto replying that it’s always evaluating which metrics to use, so maybe it will get reintroduced at some point.)