How Twitter’s Business Compares to Facebook’s

Ever since Twitter revealed last month that it had filed confidential paperwork to go public, the company has been compared to what is arguably its biggest competitor, Facebook. However, the S-1 form that the company filed Thursday shows that the two companies are in fact miles apart — for better or worse.

In comparison to Facebook’s numbers leading up to its IPO last year, Twitter has far fewer active users, far less ad revenue and far greater losses. On the other hand, Twitter is planning a much smaller IPO, which may insulate it against some of the sell off Facebook experienced, and it has at least one key asset that Facebook didn’t have at this point in the process: significant mobile ad revenue.

Here are a few key stats comparing the two companies:

Twitter plans to raise $1 billion from its public offering. Facebook initially planned to raise $5 billion in its IPO, but increased that to $16 billion by the time it went public.

Twitter reported having 218 million monthly active users and more than 100 million daily active users in its S-1. Facebook’s initial S-1 revealed the social network had 845 million monthly active users and 483 million daily active users. By the time Facebook went public, those numbers had increased to 901 million monthly active users and 526 million daily active users and it now has 1.15 billion and 699 million, respectively.

Twitter reported generating $317 million in revenue in 2012. Facebook generated $3.7 billion in revenue — more than ten times as much — in 2011, the year before its IPO.

In an unorthodox move, Twitter did not disclose revenue per user. Instead, Twitter said its ad revenue “per 1,000 timeline views” was $2.17 in the second quarter in the U.S. and $0.30 in the rest of the world. Facebook generated $3.67 in ad revenue per U.S. and Canada user in the second quarter of this year and $1.41 per user worldwide.

Just as importantly, Twitter is still not profitable. Twitter lost nearly $80 million in 2012 and reported a net loss of $69 million in the first six months of this year. Facebook reported a profit of $1 billion in the full year before its IPO.

Twitter’s S-1 proved that it is already a mobile-first company: 65% of Twitter’s ad revenue comes from mobile products. Facebook, by comparison, had only just started to advertise on mobile by the time it went public and reported that mobile accounted for 41% of its total ad revenue in the most recent quarter.

If the IPO paperwork is any indication, Twitter also appears to be more mindful of Facebook than Facebook was of Twitter at this point. Twitter mentioned the word “Facebook” 9 times in its S-1. Facebook only mentioned “Twitter” twice.

Image: Steve Jennings/Getty

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