Twitter CEO Dick Costolo on Wednesday came out pitching the case for the service's mainstream potential as the company faced growth concerns in its first financial report to Wall Street since going public.
Twitter beat Wall Street's sales and profit forecasts, but shares nose-dived more than 17 percent in after-hours trading on lackluster user growth and engagement figures.
"We can increase high-quality interactions and make it more likely that new or casual users will find the service as indispensable as our existing core users do," Costolo said on the company's conference call.
Share of Twitter plummeted $11.59, to $54.38, following its letdown that monthly active users came in at 241 million, a 30 percent year-over-year increase but well below expectations. Twitter's engagement dropped to 148 billion Timeline Views, an 11 billion decline from the previous quarter.
"What Twitter needs to prove is two things: that they can dramatically increase engagement with advertisers; and they can dramatically increase engagement with users. The market is now questioning whether they can go mainstream," said RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney.
The company reported $9.8 million in net income, or 2 cents per share, on $243 million in revenue. It was expected to report a loss of $13 million, according to the survey of estimates from Thomson Reuters.
Shares of Twitter have seen a 47 percent run-up in trading since the company went public Nov. 7. Twitter's deceleration of monthly active users, a closely watched measurement, raises questions about its ability to continue to grow as steadily as Facebook.
"My guess is that Twitter will be successful long term in re-accelerating user engagement," said Mahaney.
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