Now the question is, will the second quarter bring more of the same? Facebook is scheduled to report second-quarter earnings after the market closes today. Here's what you should watch out for.
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Investors are keeping an eye on user growth and financial performance of Facebook, a $347-billion company that's bigger than Johnson & Johnson, AT&T and General Electric. Facebook clearly owns the ad share space, driven by its user scale.
Facebook has managed to develop strong engagement and brought relevant ads. Ad revenue growth has been driven largely by Mobile, Video and Instagram.
With Instagram now topping half a billion users and Facebook Messenger reaching 1 billion active users, the company has positioned itself as a massive media conglomerate. It's positioned to be among the sturdy companies that withstand the financial stocks that probably lie ahead.
Remember, WhatsApp has already crossed the 1-billion mark. Video has also seen solid consumption, with more videos being seen on Facebook than even on Alphabet'sYouTube.
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However, there are a few challenges. There are already fears floating around that Instagram lost users to Pokemon Go from Nintendo and Snapchat is stealing some Facebook users slowly (though some believe that the fear has been overblown).
If Facebook shows stronger monthly user growth than 15% year-over-year (the first-quarter clip), things will be good. In all probability, growth will not decelerate.
Facebook Mobile user count could surpass 1 billion when second-quarter numbers are revealed. Mobile is essential for Facebook's earnings since more than three quarters of ad revenues come from mobile devices.
The user engagement rate figure will be crucial. If the figure drops below 66%, it will have done poorer than the first quarter. And with Facebook Live now a reality, a higher figure should come through.
Facebook is expected to report a 48.8% year-over-year revenue growth at $6.01 billion in the second quarter. Investors, as usual, are hoping for a beat on topline.
Citi analysts have already indicated that Alphabet's revenue for the second quarter could come in modestly below expectations. If ad sales are the reason for the slight decline, a similar fate awaits Facebook as well.
Payments/other fees revenue (which was hurt in first quarter by PC gaming declines), while a small part of the revenue pie, will still attract attention.
Global average revenue per user (ARPU) is also an important statistic that will be scrutinized.
As Facebook garners more users outside of North America, ARPU of those regions needs to go up. In the first quarter, U.S./Canada ARPU was $12.43. However, ARPU for Asia-Pacific was $1.56, and for the Rest of World was $0.91.
These figures need to keep moving upwards, especially in the laggard regions, for Facebook to keep growing at its fast pace.
Remember, Facebook's shares are trading near all-time highs. This is why any disappointment will garner major investor angst. In this dicey investment climate, you need to look for crash-proof stocks that can withstand unexpected shocks.
A Twitter (TWTR) - Get Report or LinkedIn (LNKD) (being acquired by Microsoft (MSFT) - Get Report ) can disappoint, but not Facebook. With an incredible history of beating consensus earnings-per-share every quarter since May 2013, Facebook has built its halo over time. If second-quarter numbers are healthy, Wall Street would need a solid third-quarter guidance as well.
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And finally, the truth is that Facebook's robust performance metric drives the need to keep pushing the envelope. The over 200% rise in the Facebook stock price in just three years has been possible because Facebook rarely missed a beat. This has led to investors considering higher multiples for growth. The second quarter is not expected to change that story.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.