Social network Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) just closed out its quarter at the end of last month. If history proves to be any indication of how well it performed, the company crushed it. But there's no need to guess, as Facebook just scheduled its quarterly update for July 25.
Facebook's quarterly update will come as it faces reinvigorated scrutiny over its user data policies after it was revealed that some companies were given special access to user data, which was previously thought to be blocked since 2015.
But despite a slight pullback in Facebook's stock price amid this heightened negative attention, shares are still up 24% in the past three months. Facebook's data policies, therefore, will likely take a backseat when the social network reports earnings as investors look for more strong growth from the company.
Here are three areas for investors to watch when Facebook reports its second-quarter results later this month.
Facebook has been on a tear recently, consistently outperforming analyst expectations with mind-boggling year-over-year revenue growth rates. In 2017, for instance, Facebook's revenue surged 47% higher, driven by a 49% year-over-year increase in advertising revenue. In Facebook's most recent quarter, revenue growth was even higher. Total revenue during the period increased 49% year over year as advertising revenue jumped 50%.
Of course, revenue growth like this isn't sustainable, so investors would be wise to expect a deceleration. But with management saying in its most recent earnings call that its revenue growth during the period was "broad-based across regions, marketer segments and verticals," a significant deceleration in revenue growth in Q2 is unlikely. Indeed, the consensus analyst estimate for Facebook's year-over-year revenue growth during the quarter is a strong 43%. This would put its second-quarter revenue at about $13.3 billion.
2. Operating expenses
Another key area to watch will be Facebook's operating expenses. In its most recent quarter, operating expenses increased 39% year over year. While this was a sharp jump in expenses compared to last year, it pales in comparison to what its expects for the full year
For 2018, management expects operating expenses to rise between 50% and 60%. Achieving this full-year growth in operating expenses will require a significant acceleration in operating expenses in the remainder of the year. This acceleration will be driven by investments in safety and security, video content, and long-term initiatives, explained CFO David Wehner in the second-quarter earnings call.
Since Facebook's actual expense growth typically comes in either below or at the low end of its guidance range, investors should expect operating expense growth during the quarter of about 45% to 50% -- growth that could exceed revenue growth for the period.
Finally, investors will want to check on the health of the company's social networks, mainly its core Facebook platform.
Monthly active users increased 13% year over year to a record 2.2 billion in the company's most recent quarter. Daily active users rose 13% year over year to 1.45 billion.
Investors should look for similar user growth in Q2.
Facebook will report its second-quarter results after market close on July 25. In addition, Facebook will host a conference call to discuss the results at 2:00 p.m. PT on the same day.
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