Twitter surprised its critics today by turning in some much better than anticipated results for Q1 in revenue and monthly active users. The surprising results come after several quarters of stagnant growth causing many to speculate about the longevity of the platform.

Twitter reported a 14% increase in Daily Active Users compared to just 3% in Q1 just a year ago. The spike in activity on the platform is largely being attributed to the rise in user engagement via live streaming.

Twitter reported having streamed more than 800 hours of live premium video content from a wide range of partners at over 450 events around the world reaching more than 45 million viewers. Streaming video remains their top ad revenue performer.

After speculation of the rise in usage being due to the unprecedented usage of Twitter by US President Donald Trump, Twitter CFO Anthony Noto stopped short of providing any hard data to support the claims but did say that there is at least some correlation. "There is some evidence that we benefited from our new and resurrected users following news and political accounts in Q1, particularly in the U.S.," Noto said.

Trump's tweets have kept Twitter in the daily headlines of the news. However, how much his tweets have done to win over new users like all things in politics these days, it depends on who you ask.

In a letter to shareholders, Twitter reported the following as highlights from the quarter:

  • Twitter's audience continued to grow with accelerating momentum in Q1. Daily active usage (DAU)* increased 14% year-over-year, marking the fourth consecutive quarter of accelerating growth. Monthly active usage (MAU) also increased 9 million quarter-over-quarter, reaching 328 million.
  • We've made meaningful progress toward identifying and removing accounts that demonstrate abusive behavior and, as a result, we're seeing less abuse reported across the service.
  • We shipped a series of updates to further simplify our service. We gave people more characters for their replies by removing @names from the Tweet text, we're building a unified API platform, and we've launched new Direct Message APIs, creating a more cohesive product experience for consumers and developers.
  • We made progress toward streamlining and simplifying our revenue product portfolio in Q1, reallocating resources to our highest revenue-generating priorities as well as new revenue product features and new channels of demand.

However, despite the better than expected results, overall revenue remains down. Ad sales dropped to $548 million, a decrease from $595 million in Q1 2016. While revenue remained down the better than expected at $548 million surpassed analyst estimates of $512 million.

In its letter to shareholders, Twitter pointed to the recent success of the now mega-viral campaign #nugsforcarter from Wendy's as a sign that the company remains a premier platform for companies to improve their brand perception and reach their audience.

Following the Q1 report shares for the popular social media network increased by 10%.