Twitter users are declining but more people are seeing ads every day

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After a year of focusing on the network’s “health,” Twitter’s monthly active user numbers are down while revenue for the company is up. On Thursday, February 7, Twitter shared the fourth quarter and 2018 year-end report with investors, highlighting the company’s financial growth and user decline.

Twitter’s total monthly active users numbered 321 million in the fourth quarter. That is a decline from the same time period in 2017, where the network boasted 330 million users. Compared to the third quarter of 2018, the numbers are still a decline from 326 million. About 66 million of those users are from the U.S with the national number of users reached 255 million.

Twitter is ditching the monthly active user metric, however. The company says it is moving to a monetizable daily active user (mDAU) count to better measure the number of users for stakeholders and advertisers. This number doesn’t include the total user base, but only the users that are using portions of the network that display ads.

With those new metrics, Twitter says that the network’s mDAUs were 126 million in the fourth quarter. During the same period in 2017, mDAUs were only 115 million. While Twitter’s monthly users are declining, the number of users seeing ads daily is increasing.

As mDAUs, however, it’s difficult to compare Twitter’s user numbers with other networks. Snapchat, for example, posted a significantly higher DAU of 186 million. DAU and mDAUs are not directly comparable, however, and Twitter didn’t share how many daily users are logging on without visiting areas of the platform that deliver ads.

Twitter focused on improving the health of the network in 2018, tackling spam and abuse and cleaning up the terms of use. “2018 is proof that our long-term strategy is working,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said. “Our efforts to improve health have delivered important results, and new product features like a single switch to move between latest and most relevant Tweets have been embraced by the people who use Twitter. We enter this year confident that we will continue to deliver strong performance by focusing on making Twitter a healthier and more conversational service.”

While monthly user counts dropped, the company posted a 25 percent year-over-year increase in revenue. GAAP net income for the whole year was $1.2 billion after posting a loss the previous year. In 2018, the company’s staff also increased by almost 550 people.

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