Twitter reveals revenue growth in MENA despite global dip

Social media platform does not expect rise in global revenue in the next quarter, says spokesman
(Getty Images)
By Lubna Hamdan
Wed 03 May 2017 08:44 AM

Despite reporting an 8 percent fall in first-quarter revenue at $548m, social media giant Twitter is witnessing a rise in revenue in MENA, according to its head of revenue in the region.

Speaking to Arabian Business, Benjamin Ampen said MENA is an “engine for growth” for Twitter and that the firm has seen “strong growth” in the area.

The news comes just as the social platform announced its average monthly active users rose 6 percent from last year to total 328 million.

“When globally you hear about our earnings score, you hear about user growth being amazing, fourth quarter in a row of acceleration of [user] growth, 14 per cent year on year – huge. Revenue is not growing [globally, but] in MENA situation, not only are our users growing, but our revenue is growing as well,” he said.

While he declined to reveal any figures, Ampen said the platform does not expect global revenue to rise in the next quarter.

“Usually, revenue lags behind usage, meaning that if you have growth of usage, it doesn’t mean immediately that you’re going to have growth of revenue. That’s obviously one of our key objectives ... making sure we translate that user growth, this audience growth, to revenue growth. But just to manage expectations, we don’t expect that to happen in the next quarter,” he said.

Ampen said the San Francisco firm, which has never made a profit, is taking several steps to increase revenue, including deprioritising some products based on their performance or adoption as well as re-allocating some of its resources.

On the other hand, the Silicon Valley firm reported a decrease in net quarterly losses from $80m in the first quarter of 2016 to $62m in 2017.

“Although what you’re talking about is purely revenue net - you’re right, it has been decreasing - there are a couple of really good bits of news in terms of our gap net loss has been dropping significantly. So when you start talking about profitability… if you have a look at other financial metrics like our EBITDA [Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation] margin … we’ve never had to date, in my five years at Twitter, we’ve never had such a big EBITDA margin. That’s a strong message for companies who want to invest in Twitter,” Ampen said.

The social media giant set up office in Dubai in the summer of 2015. While Ampen confirmed there are no expansion plans in the in the near future, he said Saudi has been one of Twitter’s top 10 global markets for several subsequent quarters.

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