With Twitter shares up more than 150 percent since its November IPO, the pressure is on for the company to deliver in its first earnings report after the bell Wednesday.
Investors want to see Twitter demonstrate continuing growth in revenue, users and new business potential.
Analysts project Twitter’s quarterly revenue will more than double to $218 million, on a loss of 2 cents per share. After the company’s 105 percent year-over-year revenue growth in each of the past two quarters, analysts will be watching for signs that growth is slowing.
With the company under pressure to show that its service can become more mainstream, user growth is critical.
JP Morgan’s Doug Anmuth predicts Twitter’s user base will grow to 305 million in 2014, up from 232 million in November. He says it’s possible the service saw an IPO-driven user bump.
“We believe Twitter has gained meaningful scale through its strong brand recognition and free promotion across virtually all news outlets,” he said. Anmuth added that the company this year will focus on simplifying the product and making it easier for new users to get started and stay hooked.
Investors also want to see that Twitter ads are working.
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On the heels of the Super Bowl, which was the largest Twitter event ever (24.9 million tweets related to the game sent during a four-hour period), we can expect CEO Dick Costolo to talk about Twitter as the “second screen,” a key companion to TV ad purchases. Will he reveal some revenue numbers from the Super Bowl or an indication of how the company can spin unprecedented advertiser and brand participation on Twitter into more ad dollars?
On the earnings call we can expect plenty of questions about new ways Twitter will make money—how will it build on mobile ad start-up MoPub it purchased, perhaps to build a mobile ad network? And what are plans for social, mobile commerce in light of reports that Twitter commerce chief Nathan Hubbard is working out a deal with mobile payments company Stripe.
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—By CNBC’s Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter @JBoorstin.