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Snap Loses Another 2 Million Users, Beats Q3 Earnings Expectations

Snapchat corporate parent Snap seems to be following Twitter’s example: The company continues to bleed users, but it is getting a lot better at monetizing its existing user base.

During its most recent quarter, Snap lost 2 million daily active users compared with the previous quarter, the company disclosed as part of its Q3 earnings report Thursday. However, it handily beat analyst expectations on revenue and earnings, approaching $300 million in revenue for the quarter.

Investors responded by sending Snap’s stock up sharply in after-hours trading, only to send it back into negative territory soon after, with share prices down more than 10% in after-hours trading.

That’s in contrast to Twitter, whose stock price was up more than 15% Thursday after reporting a similar combination of declining user numbers and better-than-expected earnings earlier in the day.

Snap generated revenue of $297.7 million in Q3 of 2018, compared with $207.9 million during the same quarter last year. The company’s net losses for the quarter were $325.15 million, which translated to a net loss of $0.25 per share. Last year around, Snap’s losses came in at $0.36 per share.

Analysts had expected revenue of $283 million, and losses of $0.27 per share.

These results mirror last quarter’s numbers, when the company disclosed that it had lost 3 million daily active users, while at the same time posting better-than-expected revenue and earnings numbers.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel blamed the user decline on problems with Snapchat’s Android app, something that the company has frequently pointed to as one of its pain points in the past. Snap is already testing a rebuilt Android app in a couple of markets, but Spiegel said Thursday that the company wasn’t ready to be released widely. “We still have a bunch of work to do there,” he said.

The same seems to be true for one of Snap’s other goal: becoming a profitable company. Neither Spiegel nor CFO Tim Stone wanted to commit to reaching profitability in 2019, something that Spiegel laid out as a goal in a recently leaked email to employees. “Internal goals are just that,” Stone said. “They are internal goals.”

This also sums up pretty well why investors are a lot more forgiving to Twitter than to Snapchat. Twitter has become a profitable company, raking in $0.21 per share in Q3. Snap, on the other, hand is still in growth mode, spending heavily to build out its products and attract new users, to the tune of $1.3 billion for research and development during the first 9 months of this year. Thus far, it looks like those investments don’t pay off.

Spiegel, nonetheless, ended his prepared remarks on Thursday’s earnings call with a positive outlook for 2019:

“We are in this for the long term and we are just getting started. We offer a uniquely different user experience and we are excited about the many opportunities we have to drive growth.”

Other notable tidbits from the earnings report:

  • This past quarter, 21 unique shows on Snapchat Discover reached a monthly active audience of over 10 million viewers.
  • NBCUniversal extended its content-production commitments through 2019; Viacom committed to creating 10 new Snap Original Shows as well as syndicating at least 500 episodes of its networks’ shows on Snapchat.
  • Snapchat users have saved more than 200 billion Snaps to date.
  • Over 60% of Snapchat’s daily active users create Snaps every day.
  • Snapchat’s Tic-Tac-Toe AR game attracted over 80 million unique users in Q3.
  • Countries outside of North America now represent 30 percent of Snap’s total revenue.

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