At first glance, Twitter's numbers look solid with big top- and bottom-line beats (notable after disappointing revenue in both Q1 and Q2):
3Q Rev. $936.2M, Est. $780.5M
3Q Adj EPS 19c, Est. 5c
But...there is a big red flag here, and that is Twitter’s user growth.
After adding 20 million new users in Q2, Twitter added just 1 million new users in Q3, and that’s despite the fact that most pro sports are back and we have a massive election in five days. Expectations were that Twitter would report growth of 9 million new users in the quarter so this is a definite miss.
This sent the stock down hard after hours...
In its earnings release, Twitter raises more concerns about the post-election environment::
As we approach the US election, however, it is hard to predict how advertiser behavior could change. In Q2, many brands slowed or paused spend in reaction to US civil unrest, only to increase spend relatively quickly thereafter in an effort to catch up. The period surrounding the US election is somewhat uncertain, but we have no reason to believe that September’s revenue trends can’t continue, or even improve, outside of the election-related window.
And additional concern is that Twitter says the new version of its MAP ad product (Twitter’s direct response ad product) has been delayed until 2021. The company said this was a top priority after Q1.