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Twitter Q2 Revenues Light - User Growth Tops

July 23, 2020

Twitter reported financial results for its second quarter 2020. The firm had a loss per share of $1.39. The loss was driven by a $1.1 billion loss related to a noncash deferred tax asset. The unusual tax item clouded expectation comparisons. On the revenue top line, $683 million came in with $707 million expected.

Twitter did better on monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) which came in at 186 million with only 172.8 million expected.

"Our product work is paying off, with tremendous growth in audience and engagement. We grew mDAU to 186 million, a 34% year over year increase in Q2, the highest quarterly year-over-year growth rate we've delivered since we began reporting mDAU growth," said Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO. "I also want to address the security issue Twitter suffered last week. We moved quickly to address what happened, and have taken additional steps to improve resiliency against targeted social engineering attempts, implemented numerous safeguards to improve the security of our internal systems, and are working with law enforcement. We understand our responsibilities and are committed to earning the trust of all of our stakeholders with our every action, including how we address this security issue. We will continue to be transparent in sharing our learnings and remediations."

"Revenue was $683 million in Q2, down 19% year over year, reflecting moderate recovery in advertising demand relative to the last three weeks of March. Despite the pandemic, brands have found innovative ways to join the conversation on Twitter to connect with their customers," said Ned Segal, Twitter's CFO. "We have completed our ad server rebuild and are making progress accelerating our performance ads roadmap. With a larger audience and progress in ads, we are even better positioned to deliver for advertisers when the live events and product launches that bring many people and advertisers to Twitter return to our lives."

Second Quarter 2020 Operational and Financial Highlights

Except as otherwise stated, all financial results discussed below are presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America, or GAAP. As supplemental information, we have provided certain non-GAAP financial measures in this press release's supplemental tables, and such supplemental tables include a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to our GAAP results. The sum of individual metrics may not always equal total amounts indicated due to rounding.

  • Q2 revenue totaled $683 million, a decrease of 19% year-over-year or 18% on a constant currency basis.
    • Advertising revenue totaled $562 million, down 23% year-over-year or 22% on a constant currency basis. We previously noted that in Q1, widespread economic disruption and a significant decrease in global advertising spend as a result of the pandemic led to a 27% decline in advertising revenue in the last three weeks of March. We saw a gradual, moderate recovery relative to March levels throughout most of Q2, with the exception of late May to mid-June, when many brands slowed or paused spend in reaction to US civil unrest. During the last three weeks of June, advertising revenue declined 15% year over year. Demand gradually improved once brands returned after the protests subsided.
      • Total ad engagements increased 3% year-over-year.
      • Cost per engagement (CPE) decreased 25% year-over-year.
    • Data licensing and other revenue totaled $121 million, an increase of 6% year-over-year.
    • US revenue totaled $365 million, a decrease of 20% year-over-year.
    • International revenue totaled $319 million, a decrease of 18% year-over-year or 17% on a constant currency basis.
  • Q2 costs and expenses totaled $807 million, an increase of 5% year over year. This resulted in an operating loss of $124 million and -18% operating margin, compared to operating income of $76 million or 9% operating margin in the same period of the previous year. Expense growth of 5% was lower than growth in the low teens we expected at the beginning of the quarter and reflects decisions we have made to reduce spending, continued cost savings from restricted business operations, and some of the challenges of growing headcount and investing in our objectives in the current environment. As we continue to adapt our operations and improve and increase hiring, we intend to continue investing in our most important work. We believe total costs and expenses will increase 10% or more year over year in Q3.
  • Stock-based compensation (SBC) expense grew 40% year over year to $133 million and was approximately 19% of total revenue compared to 12% in the prior quarter. As a reminder, stock-based compensation expense is closely tied to headcount, timing of grants, and vesting. Due to these factors, we expect to recognize more SBC expense in Q2 relative to other quarters in 2020.
  • In Q2 2019, we established a $1.1 billion deferred tax asset and recognized an income tax benefit. In Q2 2020, we recognized a deferred tax asset valuation allowance of $1.1 billion and a non-cash income tax expense based primarily on cumulative taxable losses driven primarily by COVID-19. This valuation allowance would be reversed in the event, and to the extent, that it is more likely than not that there will be sufficient taxable income to realize the tax benefit. Depending on the extent and severity of COVID-19's impact, we could have an additional valuation allowance against deferred tax assets in a future period. As a result of the valuation allowance, we incurred a net loss of $1.2 billion in Q2, representing a net margin of -180% and diluted EPS of ($1.56). Excluding the impact of the income tax expense due to the establishment of the valuation allowance, Q2 adjusted net loss was $127 million, representing an adjusted net margin of -19% and adjusted diluted EPS of ($0.16).
    • This compares to net income of $1.1 billion, representing a net margin of 133% and diluted EPS of $1.43 in the same period of the previous year. Excluding the income tax benefit related to the establishment of the deferred tax asset mentioned above, adjusted net income was $37 million, adjusted net margin was 4% and adjusted diluted EPS was $0.05 in the same period of the previous year.
  • Capital expenditures totaled $162 million, compared to $135 million in the same period last year, driven by investments we are making in our infrastructure to support audience growth and product innovation. We intend to increase capex in absolute dollars sequentially in Q3. The increase will allow us to address our near-term capacity needs and continue our buildout of a new data center, contingent on improvements in the IT supply chain.
  • Average monetizable daily active users (mDAU) were 186 million for Q2, compared to 139 million in the same period of the previous year and compared to 166 million in the previous quarter.
    • Average US mDAU were 36 million for Q2, compared to 29 million in the same period of the previous year and compared to 33 million in the previous quarter.
    • Average international mDAU were 150 million for Q2, compared to 110 million in the same period of the previous year and compared to 133 million in the previous quarter.

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