SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter, the social networking service, has beaten forecasts by reporting better-than-expected first quarter revenue of $665m, buoyed by healthy growth in international ad revenues and a strong showing in Asia-Pacific.

The company announced in a statement that total revenues grew 21% year-on-year, generating net income of $61m compared to a net loss of $62m in the first quarter of 2017.

Owned and operated (O&O) advertising revenue increased 28% year-on-year to $533m, which Twitter CFO Ned Segal attributed to “continued audience growth, differentiated ad product features, improved ROI, and better sales execution”.

According to Variety, Twitter’s international revenue totalled $318m over the quarter, an increase of 53% since the same period last year, with Asia-Pacific being a particularly important market.

Japan, for example, continued to be Twitter’s second largest market after the US in terms of revenues. Sales there grew an impressive 61% over the year, amounting to $117m, or almost a fifth (18%) of total revenue for the quarter.

“We expect these trends to continue, such that international ad revenue is expected to exceed US ad revenue in future quarters,” Twitter said in a letter to shareholders.Twitter also revealed that its base of daily active users grew 10% year-on-year, although the company did not provide a specific number.

However, it did report that it had an average of 336 million monthly active users during the quarter, a modest 3% increase since Q1 2017 and an increase of six million compared with the previous quarter.

Commenting on the growth of its active user base, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said in an earnings call: “We continued our work to make it easier for people to follow topics, interest, and events on Twitter with new curated timelines of tweets around breaking news and sports events at the top of the home timeline and launched new product features, including video timestamps and bookmarks, to help people discover and discuss what’s happening.”

And he also addressed concerns about some content that appears on social media platforms. “This quarter we committed to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation on Twitter, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress,” he said.

“We're investing in improving the health of our service by building a framework to help encourage more healthy debate, conversations, and critical thinking. And we’re soliciting external experts to help us get this right.”

Sourced from Twitter, Variety, Seeking Alpha; additional content by WARC staff