Twitter hits 232 million active users, but it still. isn’t. making. any. profit.

Flying birds Flickr

Flying birds Flickr

It’s the most anticipated tech IPO since Facebook, which is set to make Twitter‘s founders millionaires a couple of times over and help the social media site raise a reported US$1-billion. It’s picked out the symbol it’ll be trading under (the vowel-free TWTR) and opted to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange — but that’s not the only interesting update to its filing with the SEC. Twitter has also gained users, seriously increased its revenue… and made more of a loss.

In the first amendment to its S-1 form, Twitter revealed it has gained 15-million monthly active users in the last quarter, bringing it to 231.7-million monthly active users globally at the end of September. Of those, an average of 53-million live in the United States, and 179-million reside in other parts of the world. In addition to that, it also has a climbing number of daily active users — 100-million at the end of last month. But it still isn’t making any profit.

While the social network site pulled in US$422-million in revenue in the first 9 months of this year (up from 253-million at the end of June), its losses jumped from US$21.6 million in the same quarter last year to US$64.6 million in 2013. While its revenue increased 106% from the end of September 2012 to the same time period in 2013, its expenses are still vastly outpacing its income, with most of its cash going towards research and development, as well as sales and marketing.

So, where is it making money? From deals with data partners and advertising — specifically, from mobile ads. The company says that 70% of its advertising revenue was generated from mobile devices, and a massive 76% of all its monthly active users logged into the service from cellphones and tablets. As its points out in the filing, a large percentage of its ad revenue comes from the United States, which has a higher proportion of internet users who tweet than in other countries. In the last quarter, 77% of Twitter’s monthly active users logged in from outside the US — but, based on the billing addresses of its advertisers, they accounted for only 26% of its revenue. Twitter’s growth depends heavily on expanding in other markets — and it is expecting to see its user base in countries like Argentina, France, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa to outpace the growth rates in its home country in the near future.

Its march into emerging markets won’t be easy though — in addition to going up against local competitors and established clones, Twitter also foresees issues in regions like India, where a lot of users access Twitter on feature phones instead of the company’s optimised and monetised suite of smartphone apps. That could affect its advertisers’ ability to engage with users on a more basic version of Twitter, which means less potential income for the social network site.

Image: Bobica Alexandru via Flickr.



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