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Has Twitter's growth peaked?

Twitter reports Q1 earnings on Tuesday.

Kimberly White / Getty Images

Twitter did something at the end of last year that it had never done before: It shrank.

When the company reported its Q4 earnings back in February, the stock dropped nearly 12 percent on news that Twitter’s user base had gotten smaller over the quarter. That meant that the group of people who actually make Twitter money — users who consume the ads that Twitter sells — was shrinking.

We’ll soon find out if that user decline was a one-time issue for Twitter, or if the company’s user base has officially peaked. Twitter reports earnings on Tuesday after markets close, and analysts expect its user numbers to increase slightly from 305 million to 307 million users. Some analysts like SunTrust’s Bob Peck and Stifel’s Scott Devitt expect even more growth, to 309 million and 310 million users respectively.

Whatever that number ends up being, expect this growth metric to determine whether investors walk away feeling optimistic about Twitter, or down in the dumps.

Here are a few other things to look for Tuesday afternoon.

Board changes

Twitter appointed two new board members earlier this month in a move that was a long time coming. At that time, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted that more board members were coming "soon," more specifically new members who will "bring diversity and represent the strong communities on Twitter." We haven’t seen those new members yet, but Tuesday would be a good time to talk about them.

Twitter and the NFL

Twitter surprised many when it won rights to stream 10 NFL games earlier this month, beating out tech heavyweights like Amazon and Verizon for the honors. We know a few details — like that Twitter paid less than $10 million for the deal — but the company hasn’t talked much about the why behind the decision. Hopefully it will on Tuesday, but either way, you can bet analysts will be asking about it on the company’s earnings call.

Periscope and its livestreaming future

Facebook’s dramatic push into livestreaming video means Twitter-owned Periscope should be on high alert. Twitter often talks on earnings calls about Periscope and how it fits into the company’s focus on live media, but until now there has never been a serious competitor out to make Periscope obsolete. Facebook is now that competitor, and it will be interesting to see whether Twitter acknowledges the push from Mark Zuckerberg and co. or simply plugs along as usual. Any mention that Periscope will integrate into Twitter, or that the company is looking to pay its broadcasters, would be noteworthy.

Actual revenue

All fun and games aside, here’s what to look for on the earnings side, which is the one area where Twitter tends to deliver each quarter. Analysts are looking for profits of 10 cents per share on revenue of roughly $608 million for the quarter. That would be a 39 percent jump over its Q1 revenue last year.

Reminder: It was this same earnings call one year ago that really put Twitter on its slide. Its earnings numbers, which were poor, leaked early and the stock tanked, causing Wall Street to temporarily halt trading. The stock never recovered, and is down almost 67 percent in the past year.

 Twitter’s Q1 earnings last year sent the stock on a slide it’s never reversed.
Twitter’s Q1 earnings last year sent the stock on a slide it’s never reversed.

This article originally appeared on

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