Facebook Posts Stellar Earnings, Even With Rising Costs, and Dominates in Mobile

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) has released its third quarter earnings and the numbers look solid on all fronts. That may not be a surprise after the other online and tech earnings we have seen. Still, Facebook reported that revenue was $4.501 billion — up from $3.203 billion last year, and above the $4.37 billion consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Facebook’s adjusted earnings were $2.41 billion with an adjusted operating margin of 54%. That compares to $1.459 billion and 57% a year earlier. The adjusted earnings per share (EPS) was $0.57, versus $0.43 EPS a year ago and versus the consensus estimate of $0.52 EPS.

Of the $4.501 billion in revenues, some $4.299 billion was in advertising – up 45%. Facebook’s total costs and expenses rose by 68% to $3.042 billion. Excluding the impact of year-over-year changes in foreign exchange rates, the company showed that total revenue would have increased by 51%.

The metrics that matter here were as follows:

  • Daily active users were 1.01 billion on average for September 2015, up 17%.
  • Mobile daily active users were 894 million, up 27% year-over-year.
  • Monthly active users were 1.55 billion, up 14%.
  • Mobile monthly active users were 1.39 billion, up 23%.

Mobile advertising revenue represented 78% of all advertising revenue, versus 66% a year earlier. Capital expenditures (cap-ex) was $780 million, while cash and cash equivalents was $15.83 billion after $1.41 billion in free cash flow.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s founder, spoke short and sweet for his official comment on the third quarter: We had a good quarter and got a lot done. We’re focused on innovating and investing for the long term to serve our community and connect the entire world.

Facebook shares closed up 1.3% at $103.94 ahead of earnings, with a 52-week range of $72.00 to $105.12. Its shares were last seen up 2.3% at $106.25 in the after-hours session. There were already 3.7 million shares that had traded in the after-hours session alone as of 4:20 p.m. Eastern Time.

What this tells you is that Facebook is dominating in mobile. Now you know what all those drivers looking down at their phones are doing when they make you miss the traffic lights or aren’t looking up when they drive.

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