Facebook beat analyst expectations for the ninth straight quarter in its third quarter earnings report Tuesday. Here are the numbers:
Analysts expected — $3.12 billion
Facebook actual — $3.20 billion
Earnings per share:
Analysts expected — $0.40
Facebook actual — $0.43
Monthly active users:
2nd quarter 2014: 1.32 billion
This quarter: 1.35 billion
Despite Facebook’s strong showing, its stock dipped a bit — 2 percent — in after-hours trading. Investors may have hoped for accelerated user growth, and Facebook’s user acquisition decelerated this quarter (just as it did at [company]Twitter[/company]). That deceleration was by less than one percent, though.
Stock fell even further during the earnings call, down ten percent, possibly because Facebook had conservative estimates for its revenue during the holiday quarter.
Otherwise, though, the company looks to be very healthy. It pulled in $2.96 billion in advertising revenue, and its mobile monthly active users totaled 1.12 billion, a whopping 83 percent of its general monthly active users. [company]Facebook[/company] has solved the problem of making money off users on smartphones, with 66 percent of its advertising revenue coming from mobile.
All this progress is occurring before Facebook has even started seriously tapping its key mobile properties, messaging service WhatsApp and photo sharing site Instagram. Instagram is in the early stages of experimenting with promoted images from advertisers. When ads are put into full swing, Instagram is expected to rake in boatloads of cash for Facebook. WhatsApp doesn’t have ads at all (yet).
During the earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about his “portfolio approach” to apps, and whether standalone products like WhatsApp and Instagram actually hurt Facebook’s user metrics. He denied that was the case, and said that consumers can expect more standalone apps from Facebook in the future. “The use cases for products like Instagram and WhatsApp are actually more different and nuanced than the products Facebook built,” Zuckerberg told the analyst. “[Facebook] Messenger and WhatsApp are growing quickly in a lot of the same countries…which suggests they’re more different than you would intuitively have thought.”
This quarter Facebook relaunched the Atlas ad server to take on Google’s DoubleClick. Add that property to the company’s mobile ad Audience Network, and it’s a good time to be Facebook. As each month passes, the company looks less and less like a simple social media play and more and more like a multi-pronged behemoth to rival Google.
Google acknowledges the competitor in its midst; on its earnings call last week Google even admitted it was following Facebook’s lead on mobile ad targeting.
This story was updated Tuesday afternoon with information from Facebook’s earnings call.