Twitter is actually going to generate more than $1 billion in sales this year

Investment mode.
Investment mode.
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Wall Street is giving Twitter a hard time—shares are down 8% in after-hours trading—as its user growth continues to slow. Twitter reported 281 million monthly active users (MAUs) at the end of the third quarter, up 23% year-over-year. But user growth is slowing: Twitter’s 13 million additional MAUs last quarter is its second-lowest total in two years.

Twitter MAUs and growth Q3 2014

But here’s something worth considering: Twitter—Twitter!—is going to generate more than $1 billion in ad revenue this year. Even when Bloomberg first reported this possibility in early 2013, it seemed far-fetched. But it’s happening.

This remains an impressive feat for a company that was the butt of business jokes for years. Specifically, Twitter says it expects to generate about $1.37 billion in total sales this year, including its fast-growing data licensing business. Three quarters in, it’s already at $924 million in total revenue and $824 million in ad revenue.

Twitter now generates $1.77 for every 1,000 timeline views, up 83% from the same time last year. That figure is $4.28 in the United States, up 66% from $2.58 a year ago.

Where Twitter ad revenue comes from Q3 2014