Twitter shares drop 12% on latest financial report

Twitter has reported net losses of $511m for the last quarter of 2013 and $645m for the full year, but investors take flight on poor growth figures

Twitter has reported net losses of $511m for the last quarter of 2013 and $645m for the full year and investors have taken flight on poor growth figures.

“Twitter finished a great year with our strongest financial quarter to date," said Dick Costolo, chief executive officer of the microblogging service that listed on the New York Stock Exchange in November 2013.

Costolo was referring to the fact that Twitter’s revenues for the quarter were up 116% compared with the same period the year before to $243 million, while annual revenue was up 110% to $665m.

Despite the net losses, Costolo is upbeat about Twitter’s future.

"We are the only platform that is public, real-time, conversational and widely distributed and I'm excited by the number of initiatives we have underway to further build on the Twitter experience,” he said.

The financial report highlighted the launch of a number of advertising products, a self-serve advertising platform and product enchancements, as well as the acquisition of mobile ad firm MoPub.

Twitter said mobile users made up 76% of users with mobile monthly average users in the fourth quarter reaching $184m, an increase of 37% on the same period the year before.

But analysts said the biggest concern for investors was the slow growth in user numbers, sending the share price down 12% in after-hours trading, according to the BBC.

Twitter reported average monthly users for the fourth quarter of 241 million. While this comprises a 30% increase compared with the same period a year ago, it is just 3.8% up on the previous quarter.

It is also below the 39% year-on-year growth recorded at the end of 2012.

Nate Elliott, an analyst at research firm Forrester, told AFP: "If you don't have an engaged user base, you don't have a business. They have got to do better on users, that is the entire story."

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo said the company would concentrate on expanding its audience in 2014, reports the Telegraph.

The aim, he said, is to help users make the most of Twitter as a “conversational tool”, by improving the way they can search for discussions about particular topics.

“We don’t need to change anything about the platform. We simply need to make Twitter a better Twitter,” said Costolo.

He also emphasised the network’s appeal to advertisers, saying it was the most “democratic” of any social network, because any public message can be seen by any user.

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