Snap misses user growth estimates, shares fall

Snap Inc (SNAP.N) said on Tuesday a bump in user growth at the start of coronavirus-led lockdowns petered out sooner than expected, and it forecast fewer current-quarter users than the Wall Street consensus.

Shares of Snap fell 11% in after-hours trading before paring losses to around 6%.

The Snapchat owner said daily active users (DAUs), a widely watched metric by investors and advertisers, rose 17% to 238 million in the second quarter ended June 30. Analysts had expected 238.44 million, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Snap has focused on helping advertisers increase sales directly from its ads, which boosted revenue growth even as many brands have been cutting marketing budgets due to the pandemic.

Snap has positioned itself as a safe ad platform focused on friendly interactions, as more than 1,000 companies have paused ads on larger rival Facebook Inc (FB.O) due to concerns about hate speech.

“The growing focus on brand safety and privacy across the entire industry places us in a unique position of strength as we have invested in these areas from the beginning of our business,” Snap Chief Executive Evan Spiegel said during an earnings call with analysts.

Snap forecast 242 million to 244 million daily active users in the current quarter, below analysts’ target of 244.82 million according to Refinitiv data.

Revenue from ad sales jumped about 17% to $454.2 million during the quarter, above estimates of $440.8 million.

Snap’s revenue gains set the bar for Twitter, which reports earnings on Thursday, and Facebook’s results next week, said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at research firm eMarketer.

Average revenue per user was $1.91, barely changed from the year-ago quarter. Outside North America and Europe, that measure dropped 25% to 89 cents as coronavirus-related factors inflicted more harm, Snap said.

Snap’s net loss widened to about $326 million, or 23 cents per share, from $255.2 million, or 19 cents per share, a year earlier.

Chief Financial Officer Derek Andersen said third-quarter revenue growth was 32% through July 19.

But since the pandemic could weaken the economy further, Snap’s internal model is based on revenue growth of 20% for the third quarter, Andersen said.