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Twitter is pitching investors a new growth story

It’s DAUs now, not MAUs.

Asa Mathat

Twitter’s growth has nearly flatlined.

Over the past year, Twitter added just 14 million new monthly active users, and just two million in Q4, despite a chaotic election cycle that played out significantly on its service and an ad campaign from Twitter to remind us it was happening. The hope, of some, that President Trump’s obsession with the service might give Twitter a jolt is now gone.

But Twitter’s current plan seems to focus less on fixing its monthly active user problem and more on spotlighting its bump in daily active users.

On its fourth-quarter earnings call today, Twitter executives made a significant effort to call out an increase in its DAUs. Its monthly active user base grew just 4 percent over the past year, but its daily active user base was up 11 percent. That’s the shiny new metric.

What that means is that Twitter is pitching investors on the idea that it may not be growing its overall user base, but those already using Twitter are engaging with the product more than they have in the past. Some of that is due to the U.S. election — the company reported record daily audiences when it streamed the presidential debates, for example — but Twitter is chalking up the bulk of the growth to product and marketing efforts, not politics.

Twitter provided the 11 percent growth number without sharing how many daily users it actually has, which makes it hard to determine how impressive 11 percent growth really is.

Twitter has not historically focused on daily active users, a metric that Facebook and Instagram use and the only user metric Snap included in its recently-filed IPO paperwork. Twitter executives started to talk about daily active users a bit last quarter, but that group of users was mentioned only once in passing in its Q2 shareholder letter, and wasn’t mentioned at all in its Q1 letter.

In other words, this is a new focus, and one Twitter hopes can rejuvenate interest from investors and advertisers. With a declining ad business and few new users, there aren’t a lot of other places to look.

This article originally appeared on

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