By Carly Forster
Social media giant Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) announced second quarter 2015 earnings on July 29 after market close, beating both the top and bottom line. However, despite beating earnings expectations, Facebook shares fell 4.6% in after-hours trading.
Facebook posted earnings of $0.50 per share on $4.04 billion in revenue, coming in ahead of earnings expectations of $0.47 per share and $3.99 billion in revenue. Earnings per share and revenue increased 19% and 39% year-over-year, respectively.
All eyes were on Facebook’s mobile advertising revenue with high expectations from analysts and investors alike to show increased growth in online and mobile advertising. Facebook did not disappoint as 76% of its revenue came from mobile advertising, marking a 73% increase from Q1 and a 62% increase year-over-year.
With that said, Facebook CFO David Wehner said that while “Mobile is the engine of our revenue growth,” revenue would have been $330 million higher if it weren’t for currency fluctuations.
Facebook also changed the way it charges advertisers this quarter. Now, businesses only need to pay when a user clicks on a link to their company’s website. Though Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said it is “too early to see any direct impact” from the switch, it is “just part of the innovation that you’ll see” from Facebook this year.
Additionally, Facebook posted 1.49 billion monthly average users and 1.31 billion mobile monthly average users, marking a 13% increase and 23% increase year-over-year, respectively. To put this in perspective, Mark Zuckerberg noted, “In 1876, the year the first telephone call was made, around 1.49 billion people were alive.” He added, “With each generation, the world is growing closer together. One day our community will connect everyone.”
Facebook’s quarterly costs and expenses came in at $2.76 billion, compared to $1.5 billion in the same quarter a year prior. Although this is quite an increase in spending from last year, it is not surprising as Facebook has made it clear that it is investing heavily this year in developing new technologies. As a result, operating margin dropped to 31% from 48% in Q2 2014.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg said, “This was another strong quarter for our community. Engagement across our family of apps keeps growing, and we remain focused on improving the quality of our services.”
Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali weighed in on Facebook on July 30 in light of the company’s Q2 earnings, reiterating a Buy rating on the stock and raising his price target from $100 to $105. The analyst based his Buy rating on “1) FB’s position as the largest/most-engaging Internet platform, offering personalized marketing at scale, 2) the on-going shift of ad dollars to mobile/social and 3) a massive video opportunity, all of which we believe translates into material market share gain.” Additionally, Squali noted, “Untapped monetization potential for Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp also provide a compelling valuation case.”
Youssef Squali has rated Facebook 30 times since 2009, earning a 100% success rate recommending the stock and a +50.7% average return per FB recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. Overall, he has a 63% success rate recommending stocks and a +20.1% average return per recommendation.
Similarly on July 29, RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney reiterated an Outperform rating on Facebook with a price target of $105, naming the stock as “one of [his] Top Long Recommendations in the Large Cap Net sector.” The analyst sees “plenty of strong, secular, platform growth ahead” for Facebook “In part because FB [management] is correctly prioritizing the user experience while developing better solutions for advertisers.” Mahaney compares Facebook’s momentum to Google in 2007, noting “Investors who stayed the course with GOOG since 2007 – with adjustments along the way – have enjoyed a 150%ish return. We believe a similar l-t outcome is possible for FB investors today.”
Mark Mahaney has rated Facebook 23 times since 2009, earning a 100% success rate recommending the company and a +53.8% average return per FB recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. Overall, he has a 66% success rate recommending stocks and a +23.6% average return per recommendation.
Axiom analyst Victor Anthony also weighed in on Facebook on July 30, reiterating a Buy rating on the stock with a price target of $120, citing the company “as the best way to play the ad shift to mobile.” The analyst notes that Facebook’s “core business continues to display strength with revenue growth of 55% ExFX, driven by mobile newsfeed monetization with contribution from video ads” and has raised his “revenue and EBITDA estimates and correspondingly…from $117 to $120 for year-end 2016.”
Victor Anthony has rated Facebook 36 times since 2014, earning a 91% success rate recommending the company and a +52.4% average return per FB recommendation when measured over a one-year horizon and no benchmark. Overall, the analyst has a 64% success rate recommending stocks and a +15.3% average return per recommendation.
Out of 24 analysts polled by TipRanks, 23 are bullish on Facebook and 1 is bearish. The average 12-month price target for Facebook is $106.09, marking a 9.38% potential upside from where the stock last closed. On average, the all-analyst consensus for Facebook is Strong Buy.