Facebook, Inc. Earnings: 3 Questions for Zuckerberg

By Daniel SparksFool.com

Facebook's third-quarter earnings call on Wednesday could trigger some volatility in the stock price. With shares hitting new highs in the days leading up to the report, the pressure for Facebook to continue performing is undoubtedly high. Can the social network continue to live up to the significant premium the market has awarded the stock?

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in his office. Image source: Facebook

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While Facebook's third-quarter earnings report itself will likely be key to whatever direction the stock moves after it is released, buy-and-hold investors may be more interested in the conference call with management following the report. During Facebook's earnings call, CEO Mark Zuckerberg usually provides key insight into the company's outlook for the near- and long-term future.

Here are some key topics for investors to watch for during the call.

How's the testing of a new "Like" button going?With the company launching a test of a completely overhauled Like button during October, management likely has meaningful visibility into how well the new button is performing. Given how significant the change would be for both users and businesses, investors will want to know whether the social network is planning to introduce the new Like button to all Facebook users.

The new Like button, which includes responses the company refers to as Reactions, gives users seven different emojis to choose from when acknowledging a post. The emojis include the traditional Like, angry, sad, haha, love, wow, and yay.

Facebook is testing "reactions." Image source: Facebook

Reactions could be a key catalyst for Facebook since it would likely give the social network -- and eventually businesses -- more specific data on a wider range of user responses to posts. This could potentially help the company serve even more valuable, targeted ads to users.

Importantly, a new like button may also improve the user experience, as it reduces the awkwardness of "Liking" something that is sad or disturbing, such as a family death or news of a tragedy.

Is Facebook going to compete with YouTube? While the social network has obviously been taking video seriously for a while now, Facebook's biggest leap toward building its video business is probably its more recent tests of new immersive video features. Indeed, these new video features, which the company has mostly been rolling out in October, suggest the social network may even be trying to build its own video portal to rival Google's (now Alphabet) YouTube.

Here are the new features in a nutshell:

  • Suggested videos make it easier for users to discover multiple related videos in a row after tapping on a video in the News Feed.

Facebook's "suggested videos." Image source: Facebook

  • The introduction of multitasking while watching a video allows users to browse their News Feed while a video plays from a "floating screen."
  • By allowing users to save their videos, they can easily access and watch them later.
  • A dedicated "Videos" icon at the bottom of the Facebook app enables users to go to a place where they can exclusively discover and watch videos.

What does Zuckerberg think of YouTube Red? Investors will also undoubtedly be interested in hearing about what Zuckerberg thinks of YouTube Red -- Alphabet's new ad-free option for YouTube users.

YouTube Red gives YouTube viewers a monthly subscription option, priced at about $10 a month. In addition to giving paying members an ad-free experience, the service includes a few additional viewing options and features, as well as access to more original YouTube content.

Would Facebook ever be interested in launching something similar? And, if so, does Zuckerberg believe Facebook could compete directly with YouTube?

Investors can tune in to Facebook's earnings call after-market close on Wednesday. A link to the call will be made available at the company's investors relations website before the call begins at 2:00 PM PT. The social network's third-quarter earnings release will also be available on this page.

The article Facebook, Inc. Earnings: 3 Questions for Zuckerberg originally appeared on Fool.com.

Daniel Sparks has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), and Facebook. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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