At long last, Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) is sharing how many daily active users (DAUs) it has on the platform, a move it has long resisted in favor of pointing to the percentage growth of DAUs as evidence of growing engagement. Twitter has long disclosed monthly active users (MAUs) to investors. As part of the social media company’s fourth-quarter earnings release, it introduced a new metric: monetizable daily active users (mDAUs).

The move comes as larger rival Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is also changing its own reporting, focusing on its broader family of apps instead of just the core Facebook platform. Here’s how to make sense of Twitter’s change of tune, and why the company’s really doing it.

An about-face
Twitter defines an mDAU as a daily user that is logged in to the platform and is able to see ads. That’s a direct contrast to the total audience strategy that the company used to tout, which included all viewers of Twitter content, specifically incorporating logged-out users. The nuanced definition also acknowledges that a lot of users view tweets outside of the platform, such as when tweets are embedded in articles on third-party sites — where Twitter can’t advertise to them.

mDAUs rose to 126 million in the fourth quarter, and Twitter lost MAUs for the third consecutive quarter.

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