The last quarter of 2017 was a landmark one for Twitter as the company posted its first profit since its foundation 12 years ago.
The social network first went public in 2013 and has consistently posted losses since then as they struggled to monetise their user base. In the three month period to end the year the San Francisco based company made a profit of $91m (£65m). This compares with a $167m loss for the same period in 2016.
The numbers for 2017 also show a growth in revenue across the year of 2% to $732m. This has been particularly buoyed by video ad sales. While the company still posted a loss of $108m for the year that was significantly lower than 2016’s loss of $457m. The company expects 2018 to be their first fully profitable year.
The amount of active monthly users grew 4% for the year ending with 330m active monthly users. The growth was less than expected due to a series of factors. The company put a lot of effort into cracking down on fake and malicious accounts. A change to Safari’s app integration wiped out 2 million users per month. The market is also becoming an increasingly crowded place with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat among those competing for user’s time.
Despite this number of users and being popular with politicians and celebrities the company has continuously struggled with ideas on how to monetise the network. Now they have found a formula that works it should be easier to replicate in the future.
Over the course of 2017 Twitter underwent several changes in a bid to get more users. Most notably the historically restrictive 140 character limit was doubled to 280 characters. They were also busy signing exclusive deals with a range of media and sports companies to stream programmes and events live on the platform.
Following the news yesterday morning Twitter’s shares enjoyed a big spike hitting $34 (up from $27) before settling back down to $30 at the end of yesterday’s trading.