Facebook posted strong financial numbers for its fourth quarter Wednesday, beating on earnings and revenue and sending shares up more than 7 percent in extended trading. Active user metrics continue to rise, though slowly.
Here’s how the company did compared with what Wall Street predicted:
- Earnings: $2.38 per share, vs. $2.19 forecast by Refinitiv consensus estimates
- Revenue: $16.91 billion, vs. $16.39 billion forecast by Refinitiv consensus estimates
- Daily active users: 1.52 billion, vs. 1.52 billion forecast by Refinitiv consensus estimates
- Monthly active users: 2.32 billion, vs. 2.32 billion forecast by Refinitiv consensus estimates
- Average revenue per user: $7.37, vs. $7.11 forecast by FactSet estimates
It proved to be a strong financial quarter for Facebook, despite growing public outrage over the company’s privacy practices.
Daily active users and monthly active users exactly matched expectations, each jumping 1.8 percent quarter over quarter, and 8.6 percent year over year. Average revenue per user, or ARPU, crushed analyst estimates, at $7.37 — a 21 percent increase from last quarter, and a 19 percent increase from last year.
Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have been drilling down on the company’s Stories feature, a Snapchat-like sharing option for temporary photos and videos. Last quarter, Zuckerberg said Stories would become “a bigger medium than Feed has been,” and said users across the Facebook family of apps — including WhatsApp and Instagram — post more than 1 billion Stories per day.
Facebook said Wednesday its family of apps sees 2.7 billion monthly active users globally, up from 2.6 billion last quarter.
The company previously warned its investment in Stories could contribute to slowing revenue growth during the second half of the year. Third quarter revenue grew by 32.9 percent year over year, breaking a 12-quarter streak of growth rates above 40 percent.
Revenue for the December quarter of $16.91 billion marks a year-over-year growth rate of 30.4 percent.
Facebook has also been dumping cash into its dedicated video tab called Facebook Watch, its long-form Instagram product called IGTV and its Craigslist competitor, Facebook Marketplace. The company is also upping investment in cybersecurity — in the wake of data scandals and content moderation flubs — adding to a projected spike in expenses.