Twitter’s ad revenue declined in Q4 2016


Twitter released its fourth-quarter earnings results on Thursday morning. Here’s a quick rundown of how the social network’s business is doing.

Twitter continues to make money but not a profit
Twitter has not turned a profit since at least the first quarter of 2012. But that’s not the only money problem Twitter now has. Despite total revenue growing by 1 percent year over year to $717.2 million in Q4 2016, Twitter’s advertising revenue actually shrank year over year to $637.8 million. Oh, and the company recorded another net loss, this time of $167.1 million.

Twitter’s ad revenue has stopped growing
Twitter’s year-over-year advertising revenue growth peaked at 129 percent in Q2 2014 and has been on a slowdown ever since. In Q4 2016, it didn’t grow at all; it shrank a little.

Twitter’s audience size continues to grow, but barely
Cup half-full: More people are using Twitter every month than did a year ago.

Cup half-empty: Only slightly more people are using Twitter every month than did in the previous quarter, and in the US the number stayed the same.

Twitter continues to get more people engaging with ads but at lower prices
Since Q1 2015, the number of times people engage with ads on Twitter — by clicking on their links, watching their videos, retweeting them and so on — has gone up and up, up 151 percent year over year in Q4 2016. But since Q3 2015, the amount of money Twitter makes per ad engagement has gone down and down, down 60 percent in Q4 2016.

On- and off-Twitter ad revenue failed to grow
For the second straight quarter, the money Twitter made from running its ads on other publishers’ properties failed to grow; in Q4 2016 it held at $85.0 million. That’s a problem for a roughly two-year-old revenue stream. But the bigger problem is that the money Twitter made from running its ads on its own properties failed to grow also; in Q4 it dipped by 1 percent year over year to $553.0 million.

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