Twitter finances revealed for first time in $1bn IPO plans

07/10/2013

Twitter plans to raise $1bn (£619m) in its stock market debut, as it posts documents to regulators giving insights into its finances for the first time.

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In the filing, revealed on Thursday, the seven-year-old company said that it now has 218 million monthly users and that 500 million tweets are sent a day.

It made a loss of $69m in the first six months of 2013, on revenues of $254m.

When it goes ahead, the IPO will be the largest Silicon Valley stock offering since Facebook's listing in 2012.

The filing also revealed Twitter's finances for the first time.

While the company has never made a profit, its revenue has grown from just $28m in 2010 to $317m by the end of 2012.

Around 85% of Twitter's revenue last year came from ad sales; the rest was from licensing its data.

The company takes in a significant portion of its ad revenue from mobile devices, an important metric often tracked by analysts.

As of 2013, over 65% of the company's advertising revenue was generated from mobile devices. More than 75% of Twitter users accessed the site from their mobile phone during that same time period.

Commenting on the news, Rupert Staines, MD UK and Europe at RadiumOne commented: “If Twitter is going to be a financial success, it has to monetise its biggest asset, its audience, and fast. But it could well struggle to do this. Twitter has done incredibly well to recruit over half a billion users into its environment.

“However, the big difference is that its particular environment is not particularly Advertiser friendly. Think how quickly tweets appear and then disappear on a timeline; consider the potentially intrusive nature of ads in your conversation stream. At a moment in time therefore, capturing engagement is limited, which puts the brakes on meaning, purpose and potential wastage. The additional problem is that this is all happening within Twitter’s own four walls. A tweet can be there and gone within seconds within Twitter, but it can live on across the entire Web in a number of different forms – email, IM link, shortened URL.

"But Twitter , similar to other noteworthy Social networks and Portals, is currently not able to engage, target and therefore make money across the open Web, which makes the walled garden it sits in seem even more claustrophobic. That is not to say Twitter will not be highly successful but people have to stop over cooking the dish.

"This is the largest Silicon Valley offering since Facebook’s floatation 18 months ago . And with the limitations it has, it is going to have to work very hard to appease anxious stakeholders wanting to see an early return. Let them exist and be happy as a very successful and smart business but don't hype it and assume they have to make billions in ad dollars!”

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