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Twitter reports highest-ever annual revenue in 2021, but misses key analyst estimates

Twitter reports highest-ever annual revenue in 2021, but misses key analyst estimates
Photo Credit: Pixabay
11 Feb, 2022
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Twitter reported its highest ever annual revenue of $5.08 billion in 2021, stating 37 percent year on year annual growth over 2020. At its latest earnings call for Q4 2021 (calendar year), and the first one under its new chief executive officer (CEO) Parag Agrawal, the company also reported 22 percent year on year revenue growth for Q4 2021, which stood at $1.57 billion. Ned Segal, Twitter’s chief financial officer (CFO), stated that one key factor behind its growth is a larger monetisable user base, to whom Twitter can serve targeted ads.

Talking at the earnings call, CEO Agrawal said, “Our work to improve personalisation includes us developing a better understanding of customer interests, sometimes through improved machine learning or through building products like followable topics. It also includes us getting better at matching creators and content to consumers. This enables us to create more relevant products that enable us to serve more relevant ads.”

However, Twitter still missed key analyst estimates for Q4 2021 that saw its stock close lower by 2 percent, according to a CNBC report.

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The social media platform laid clear emphasis on monetising its user base, with Agrawal stating its work through 2021 focused on Spaces, communities, newsletters, topics, professional accounts, ‘Super Follows’ and pilot programmes around shopping and e-commerce. “These will enable opportunities for us to better monetise through more relevant and contextual advertising, and also enable our customers to monetise,” he said.

Talking about cryptocurrencies and what Twitter intends to do in this space, while Agrawal did not offer updates of any specific nature, he stated that worldwide developer projects on cryptocurrencies can “create opportunities” for Twitter to tap. “We have a small internal team which is looking at opportunities in terms of how we might harness this change (in cryptocurrency developments) toward benefiting creators on our service, and all consumers on Twitter,” the executive added.

Twitter has long expressed its interest in web3 technologies, driven by co-founder and former CEO Jack Dorsey’s endorsement of cryptocurrencies. The company has Project Bluesky, which is its effort to build a decentralised social media platform. It has also spoken about allowing users to link their crypto wallets to the ‘Tip Jars’ – which are payment links that creators can put up on their profile to receive payments from subscribers for any exclusive content that they showcase on the platform.

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The company has also recently integrated blockchain developer platform QuickNode to offer users the ability to add non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to their profile pictures. The service is right now available only to Twitter Blue users – a subscription service that gives paying users access to extra features such as ad-free articles and the option to undo tweets.