Twitter Says Coronavirus Hit Global Ad Sales In Last Few Weeks, Withdraws Q1 Financial Guidance

Twitter Monday said it’s withdrawing its revenue and operating income guidance for the first quarter of 2020, as well as its outlook for expenses, stock-based compensation, headcount, and capital expenditures for the full year due to the growing impact of COVID-19 on the global operating and economic environment and their effect on advertiser demand.

While the near-term financial impact of this pandemic is rapidly evolving and difficult to measure, based on current visibility, the company said, it said it’s taken a hit on advertising in the past few weeks and expects revenue for the quarter ending in March to be down slightly on a year-over-year basis. Twitter also expects to incur a operating loss, as reduced expenses resulting from COVID-19 disruption are unlikely to fully offset the revenue impact of the pandemic in the first three months.

Global conversation about COVID-19 as well as ongoing product improvements are driving strength in total monetizable DAU (mDAU, or daily average users) with quarter-to-date average total mDAU reaching approximately 164 million, up 23% from 134 million in the first quarter of 2019 and up 8% from 152 million in the fourth quarter.

“Twitter’s purpose is to serve the public conversation, and in these trying times our work has never been more critical. We’re seeing a meaningful increase in people using Twitter, and our teams are demonstrating incredible resilience adapting to this unprecedented environment,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO. “We’ll continue to navigate this environment focusing on supporting our employees,
customers, and partners, while strengthening our service for everyone around the world and adjusting to a new operating and economic environment.”

“Twitter had a strong start to the year before the effects of COVID-19 began spreading more broadly,
including a successful Super Bowl and overall strength in the US. The COVID-19 impact began in Asia, and as it unfolded into a global pandemic, it has impacted Twitter’s advertising revenue globally more
significantly in the last few weeks,” said CFO Ned Segal. “We have made solid progress on our consumer and revenue product priorities and we remain confident in our opportunity and strategy.”

The company will provide an update on its earnings call on April 30.

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