Twitter is having a surprisingly good 2018, at least from a business perspective. Not only has the company made a profit for the second time ever, but its users are growing again, too.
In reporting its Q1 2018 earnings today, Twitter also revealed that it expects to be profitable throughout the rest of the year, which would be a significant turnaround after four years of losses as a public company. Twitter posted its first ever quarterly profit last quarter.
Also good news is Twitter’s user numbers: it added 6 million new monthly users last quarter. It’s only done better than that twice since the start of 2015; in most recent quarters, it’s added 3 million monthly users or fewer, and it’s even lost users in some periods.
Are Twitter’s changes making users stick around?
Twitter’s growth is mainly international. Only 1 million of those new monthly users are in the US. In fact, Twitter’s monthly users in the US have stayed pretty much the same for the past year. And while overall growth isn’t all that rapid — Twitter is still up only 3 percent year over year — this quarter’s numbers suggest some of the company’s product changes could be working to keep people coming back.
Twitter has struggled in a number of ways over the past few years. It’s dealt with slow user growth, rampant harassment issues, and difficulty making money — not to mention the perpetual problem with new users being unsure of how to use its network. Product changes have been slow; and despite major investments in video, no one really cares about Twitter video.
And while user growth may show signs of turning around, frequent Twitter users will still be the first to tell you that the company has a long ways to go in dealing with harassment and reporting issues.
Twitter doesn’t reveal many changes it’s made on those fronts in its note to shareholders, though it does say that changes to its API have resulted in decreased spam. During the first quarter of the year, Twitter says it removed 142,000 apps using its API that violated developer rules and were responsible for 130 million “low-quality” tweets in just that three month time period.