For the second time in a row, social media company Twitter (TWTR - Free Report) provided lukewarm growth in its monthly active user metric. After a notable run-up before the earnings announcement after the bell Tuesday, TWTR shares have again fallen off. Earnings, discounting $126 million in stock-based compensation, reached -0.22 cents per share on better-than-expected revenues of $250 million in the company's fiscal first quarter.
To be fair, this quarter was by no means the full-on disaster of its inaugural Q4 2013, when EPS missed by a whopping 1310% on surprisingly low timeline views per monthly active user -- a key metric for Twitter that's still so new it has no suitable acronym yet -- that fell 10% quarter over quarter. Monthly active user numbers for Q1 were largely in-line overall, but the company's before-the-bell analyst upgrade and subsequent 7% share price rise before the bell (shares dipped below 5% gains right before the close) must have indicated somebody was looking for better news than this.
Good news for investors of Twitter is that the company's in-app mobile exchange MoPub now reaches over 1 billion monthly users of iOS and Android handsets, which is obviously pretty huge. Should improved monetization and a growing audience be spurred by this type of leading innovation, perhaps throwing in the towel on TWTR shares at this point is a tad premature. After all, who doesn't recall Facebook (FB - Free Report) having a rough time growing its business in the early stages of its publicly traded existence?
Still, there were a lot of reasons to have expected a pure growth play like Twitter to have performed better than mid-single-digits in its most crucial metric: monthly active users grew 6% sequentially from Q4, up 25% year over year. Clearly Twitter's not flying off into the clouds just yet. Whether it will take the company the six quarters it took Facebook to finally book big profits or fewer -- or perhaps more -- remains to be seen.