Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is set to release its latest earnings report after closing bell today, and the stock is up slightly ahead of the report. Most analysts agree: mobile ad revenue will be the key to the company’s earnings success.
Consensus indicates that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will report $1.52 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2012, an increase of 34 percent. If the company’s revenue does accelerate, it would be the first one since its IPO in May. Revenue slowed during the two quarters previously.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares have risen 74 percent since their record low in September as investors begin to jump on the bandwagon over warm thoughts on mobile ad revenue. Analysts at Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB) have kept their rating on shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) at Buy and set their price target at $40 per share.
They said their buyside survey indicates fourth quarter revenue greater than $1.6 billion, which they say is “too lofty” in their view. However they also believe that they “underestimated the positive sentiment.” They believe investors might be able to purchase shares of the stock lower after the company releases its results, especially if the report is below expectations.
Deutsche Bank AG (USA) (NYSE:DB) analysts said they trimmed their fourth quarter ad revenue “modestly” to $1.33 billion to reflect a 10 percent year over year decline in Right Rail revenue. They left their Newsfeed revenue estimate of $495 million unchanged.
The analysts said they conducted several channel checks, they sensed “a decent probability of cannibalization of Right Rail from Newsfeed” during the fourth quarter. During the third quarter, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) showed about a 28 percent cannibalization of Right Rail from Newsfeed ad spend, and they expect the fourth quarter cannibalization to be around 15 percent.
They say that mobile and Newsfeed ad revenue will continue to “drive the story,” saying that the company’s “most exciting area of growth” during the fourth quarter and into this year is going to be mobile newsfeed ads. They also expect sold profit margins for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) during the fourth quarter.