Reddit Defies Wall Street Expectations With Strong User Growth and Ad Revenue in First Public Earnings Report

If Reddit, home to some of the online world’s most fiercely partisan fan communities, seemed intent on proving it would do things its way during social media’s first quarterly report from a public company, mission accomplished. The fulsome, heady joy emanating from and within the company’s first official earnings report proceeded, instead, from third-quarter revenues that blew past expectations (advertising!), record user numbers (they’re here!), and fat pipeline (we’re going to continue to grow revenue!). Oh, and the net loss held a remote third place.

Revenue and User Growth Exceed Forecasts:

Reddit sees hearty first-quarter growth as daily active users, and its advertising unit ramp into higher gear The company’s first-quarter earnings report revealed a 48 percent year-over-year growth in revenue, to $243 million – and blew past analyst estimates of $214 million. Both developments are tied to larger-scale increases: daily active users (DAUs) and the advertising business ramping up. DAUs grew a whopping 37 percent to a record 82.7 million, growth that reflects a steady influx of new users and interest.

Investing in the Platform and User Experience:

Reddit’s CEO, Steve Huffman, cited product performance and quality investments in explaining the jump in users to The Wall Street Journal earlier this year. These presumably include efforts to improve the user experience, making it easier for people to discover the content and cohorts they want.

Net Loss Outweighed by Strong Fundamentals:

On an adjusted basis, including bailing out Reddit’s parent company, Reddit Technologies, Comscore adjusted three figures) Reddit had a first-quarter profit of $10 million – still a vast improvement on the (larger than projected) $575 million net loss reported by Reddit. The overwhelming majority of Reddit’s IPO expenses aren’t going to recur. That gets at the underlying strength of the business.

Cautious Optimism for the Future:

Despite the solid results, Reddit noted that it remained unclear whether the upcoming US election will continue to ‘depress demand for the second half of the year.’ The company thinks it can deliver revenue in the range of $240 million to $255 million in the second quarter, higher than analysts’ expectations.

Looking Forward: Investing in User Engagement and AI

In the meantime, Reddit says it will prioritize user engagement and grow new sources of revenue. ‘We’ll continue to invest heavily in machine learning and AI, and continuing to invest in our ranking, search, recommendation algorithms and products,’ Huffman added. ‘Today we know that when we do a good job and get people more engaged and stickier, that has a positive effect on our advertising business, has a positive effect on our user growth.’

Given all this, we can say that the first earnings report as a public company told the tale of a nascent company with a rock-solid foundation for robust growth in the coming years. Yes, there is plenty of uncertainty remaining, but Reddit’s careful consideration of user experience and potential new technologies seems like a recipe for a bright, expansive future for Reddit and its communities.