Snap soars as user base stabilizes

Key Points
  • Snap posted a loss of 4 cents per share, vs. expected loss of 7 cents a share.
  • The company also managed to stabilize its user base, maintaining a daily active user count of 186 million for the second quarter in a row. 
Snap co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel speaking at the 2018 Code Conference on May 29th, 2018.
Asa Mathat | Vox Media

Snap stock shot up as much as 21 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday after beating analyst expectations across the board.

The company posted a narrower-than-expected loss for the fourth quarter as it managed to stabilize its base and prevent more users from fleeing Snapchat, the company's social app.

Here's how the company did compared with analyst projections:

  • Loss per share: 4 cents vs. 7 cents forecast by Refinitiv
  • Revenue: $390 million vs. $378 million forecast by Refinitiv
  • Global daily active users (DAUs): 186 million vs. 184.26 million forecast by FactSet
  • ARPU: $2.09 vs. $2.05 forecast by FactSet

"We ended the year with user engagement stabilizing and have started rolling out the new version of our Android application to a small percentage of our community," CEO Evan Spiegel said on Tuesday in a statement.

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Snap was able to maintain its user base at 186 million daily active users, flat from the previous quarter. Analysts were expecting the company's user base to continue shrinking as it had over the past two quarters.

The promising results come at a crucial time for the Los Angeles tech company, which had a rough fourth quarter.

The company saw rival Instagram emerge as the most popular social platform among teenagers, according to Piper Jaffray report in October. This change in ranking has coincided with a continued decrease in Snapchat's user base.

Snap this quarter also dealt with a number of key executive departures, including that of Chief Financial Officer Tim Stone, who the company announced last month will be leaving the company. Stone joined Snap less than a year ago.

Disclosure: CNBC parent NBCUniversal is an investor in Snap.