Facebook reported lower-than-expected revenue for a second straight quarter but earnings beat analysts’ estimates despite the company’s recent public relations troubles.
For the third quarter, Facebook’s revenue rose 33.5% to $13.73 billion, compared with estimates of $13.78 billion. The revenue miss in the previous quarter was Facebook’s first in 11 quarters.
But earnings came in at $1.76 per share, beating expectations of $1.47 per share, while other key metrics including daily active users (1.49 billion), monthly active users (2.27 billion), and average revenue per user ($6.09) also topped estimates.
“Although revenue came in slightly lower than Wall Street expectations, it wasn’t a significant shortfall,” eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson told MarketWatch, noting that Facebook “grew revenue at a nice pace in the important U.S. and Canada markets.”
“After the flatness we saw last quarter, that’s a good sign,” she added.
Following Facebook’s second-quarter report, its shares fell as much as 10% as investors reacted to CFO David Wehner’s prediction that revenue growth rates would “decline by high-single-digit percentages from prior quarters sequentially in both Q3 and Q4.”
But on Tuesday, he offered an improved outlook, saying he expected revenue growth to slow by a “mid-to-high single-digit percentage” in the fourth quarter. In the day’s extended session, Facebook shares rose 3.1% to $150.80.
Facebook attributes the slowdown in growth to increased investment in its Stories product, which has lower advertising rates, and other things like security and compliance with the EU’s GDPR data privacy law.
More than 92% of Facebook’s ad revenue for the third quarter came from mobile advertising, up from 88% year-over-year.
On an earnings call, Zuckerberg said the company plans to invest significantly in the business next year as it focuses on building out new products such as Facebook Watch, Instagram TV, and Facebook Marketplace. as well as improving cyber security. According to Wehner, total expenses will grow 40% to 50% percent compared with full-year 2018.
Total costs and expenses grew 53% to $7.95 billion in the third quarter, while profits increased by 9%.