Out with the old … in with the … old? Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is back at the helm of his company and will be reporting his company’s earnings on Tuesday for the second quarter of 2015.
It's a precarious moment for Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), to say the least: The company's last earnings report, which not only leaked early but failed to meet expectations, caused the stock to crash 18 percent; the stock price has continued to languish despite several new product announcements (only spiking during acquisition rumors from Google Inc.); and the company is currently hunting for a permanent CEO to replace Dick Costolo.
All this is on the shoulders of Dorsey, who's other company, Square Inc., happens to be filing for an IPO.
Dorsey has been pushing a slew of "beautiful products" rather aggressively in the last three months, to reinvigorate his network and improve user retention and growth. A new initiative called Project Lightning could drastically improve the consumer experience for live events, something Twitter has been heralded for, in-house rather than through other tools. Live-streaming video on Periscope has captured the attention of some high-profile brands and celebrities.
Some of this may be having an impact: Twitter reached record user activity in June, and the company gained 11 million new visitors, according to comScore data. The rankings, which include desktop and mobile visitors, still places the network behind Facebook, Yahoo, AOL and Apple. For this quarter, analyst Youssef Squali of Cantor Fitzgerald estimated 5 million new users, a 13 percent increase over last year, Re/code reports.
Analysts are expecting earnings of about 4 cents per share with $481.13 million in revenue, compared to $312.17 million in revenue during the second quarter of 2014. That estimate puts revenue up by about 54 percent from last year’s report and increasing from $456.52 million in the first quarter of 2015. At market's close Monday, Twitter stock was down 2 percent.
The company’s rollout of several new features focuses on improving the user experience and the on-boarding process for new members. Twitter introduced a “While You Were Away” feature on mobile that highlights content you may have missed and a new homepage that surfaces and recommends content to follow.
In June, the company launched a “Safety Center,” including an instructional video and website dedicated to explaining blocking and reporting tools. Twitter has been repeatedly criticized for a troll problem -- something Costolo, who stepped down July 1, acknowledged rather bluntly and took responsibility to deal with more aggressively. Dorsey has also taken the blame for some recent company blunders, including last week's frat-themed office party. He has claimed to make company diversity a goal.
Also in June, the site, already known for being the home of viral hashtags and live event conversations, unveiled plans to further expand efforts in improving and making money off that experience. An initiative called “Project Lightning” will have a team of editors curating content from live events.
“The challenge we’ve had over the years is, although we have the world’s greatest content, it’s like having a television without a channel guide or even a remote control,” Katie Jacobs Stanton, Twitter’s vice president of global media, told BuzzFeed. Since the project has yet to launch, Wall Street has yet to see any numbers. But the company may be able to reveal the value of its new e-commerce pages.
Project Lightning will also pull from Twitter’s other mobile properties, the short video network Vine and the new live streaming app Periscope. Costolo spoke only briefly about the company’s recent acquisition in Periscope on the last earning call, boasting that Twitter hit 1 million users 10 days after launch. Twitter has yet to reveal total user numbers or any formalized ad products.
The question is whether that's enough to impress Wall Street investors who have been pushing aggressive user growth and as Twitter competes for ad dollars with the likes of Facebook, Pinterest and the new shiny object Snapchat.
Twitter missed revenue expectations in the first quarter, coming in at $436 million compared to an average forecast of $456.52 million, and also failed to impress on user growth.
Now, Twitter is amidst a hunt for a new chief executive, where Dorsey has stayed mum on his intentions. Twitter Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto and the head of revenue, Adam Bain, have been seen as front-runners, and the company is also facing acquisition rumors.