Big Tech Pre-Earnings Insights: Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter


Big Tech Pre-Earnings Insights: Microsoft, Facebook, and Twitter

Harriet Lefton

Harriet Lefton

Investor Intel. Content Manager at SimilarWeb

Netflix (NFLX) and the banks kicked off 4Q20 earnings season last week. So far the mood is bullish, especially after Netflix revealed that it is “very close” to taking its free cash flow positive and may even consider . 

From the S&P 500, 66 stocks have already reported, but most of the big tech earnings releases will roll out over the next couple of weeks. Here we dive into the digital health of Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), and Twitter (TWTR). What do the online trends reveal about these three big players?

Using our powerful alternative data, let’s take a closer look at the pre-earnings insights now:

Microsoft: reports January 26 

Teams is Surging Ahead

  • Microsoft Teams is seeing incredible growth spurred on by COVID, leaving Slack (WORK) far behind. Its integration with the rest of the Microsoft enterprise suite has resulted in a unique advantage compared to standalone services like Slack or Zoom (ZM).
  • Indeed, Microsoft now has over 52.5 million (MUVs) to its Teams subdomain, almost five times more than Slack’s 9.2 million MUVs.
  • Pro tip: MUVs is an indicator of monthly active users (MAUs), a critical earnings metric for the popularity, performance, and growth of a website. 
  • In 4Q20 Teams delivered impressive MUV growth, surging 25% from the third quarter, and over 800% from 4Q19. This is a reassuring sign after MUVs dropped 4% from 2Q to 3Q. In comparison, we can see that ZM was up 18% from 3Q to 4Q (rocketing 2,400% YoY), while WORK stayed flat QoQ (and only rose 26% YoY).

  • Unique visitor numbers dipped 8% from November to December – but this is likely to reflect the fact that Teams has around . As a result, December is usually a softer month.
  • We used to analyze visits to URLs containing the string “store/cart,” which can be used as an indicator for consumer-driven purchases. The data revealed that the number of visits increased 27% QoQ, suggesting a significantly higher purchase intent for products sold on the website.
  • Our data for shows that Azure traffic spiked 23% YoY in the quarter, which looks stronger when compared to peers (especially Oracle and IBM’s cloud infrastructure businesses). 

➤ Want to use alternative data to boost your investment process? Download our guide on key digital metrics by sector.

Facebook: reports January 27 

Will strong ad demand save the day?

  • In 4Q20,’s monthly unique visitors pulled back 2.6% from the third quarter, although at 6.067B, this still represents 12% YoY growth. 
  • For FB, audience engagement is a closely-watched metric, especially given its potential impact on advertiser interest. If we look specifically at the U.S., we can see that both average visit duration and pages per visit are dropping (while bounce rate is rising). In fact, in December avg. visit time dropped below 13 minutes for the first time (since our data began in 12/17) so while visitor numbers are rising YoY,  these visitors appear less engaged. 

  • However, for the subdomain, which we can use as a proxy for advertiser demand, MUVs surged 9.9% from 3Q to 53.86M in 4Q, with the higher demand likely to reflect November’s shopping bonanza of Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the December holiday season. December saw the highest number of MUVs in the quarter at 18.28M up 52% from December 2019. 

Twitter: reports February 9 (estimate)

US election makes its mark

  • On a global level, Twitter’s unique visitor numbers rose 35% YoY in the fourth quarter to 900,349, slightly higher than the third quarter’s 34% YoY surge. 
  • However, thanks to the presidential election in November, the trends in the U.S. were notably more bullish. In the fourth quarter, the total unique visitors increased 44% YoY, up from 34% in 3Q20 and 23% in 2Q20. 

  • Again, the global data shows that Twitter users spent slightly less time on in the fourth quarter compared to the third quarter. In 4Q20 users spent an average of 10.57 minutes on (up 7% YoY), compared to 11.01 minutes in 3Q19 (+9% YoY).
  • But if we focus on just the U.S., average time spent on Twitter in the fourth quarter hit an impressive 11.35 minutes, up from 11 minutes 27 seconds in the third quarter.
  • In the U.S., advertisers growth YoY in visitors to turned positive in the last week of Q4 (up 16%). On a global level, we can also see that monthly unique visits to spiked 6% from November to 872,458 in December – up 15% YoY.

Earnings guidance: what’s next? 

Of course, earnings season isn’t just about the fourth quarter results. It’s also about the guidance for the coming months and quarters. A bullish or bearish outlook can be just as important to how a stock moves post-print as the actual 4Q numbers themselves. 

“As earnings season gets underway and gathers momentum a key factor to Q4 earnings season will be not just how expectations were met, missed, or exceeded in the quarter but how managements of the companies reporting frame the quarters that lie ahead,” Oppenheimer Asset Management’s John Stoltzfus .

For instance, if we look at Twitter, the key question now is:

How will the January 9 impact ad demand? According to the Street, other Tweeters (like Biden) can replace Trump. Our data shows that MUVs to dropped from 580,086 in the week of January 2 to January 8, to 558,747 in the week after the ban, to 544,874 in the week of January 16 to January 22. 

Check for yourself: .

Twitter ad trends

SimilarWeb tracks data in near real-time, so you don’t have to wait for earnings season to see how a company is performing online. 

Find out which internet stocks are out-performing the market right now. 

This blog post is subject to SimilarWeb legal notices and disclaimers.

Harriet Lefton

Harriet Lefton

在线视频 Investor Intel. Content Manager at SimilarWeb

Harriet is the content marketing manager for SimilarWeb's Investor Solution. Originally from the UK, she began her career as a journalist specializing in the niche world of metal markets. Now Harriet has turned her attention to the world of financial blogging, using SimilarWeb's unique digital data to generate valuable investing insights. She graduated from the University of Cambridge and is also a qualified UK lawyer.

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