Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg says this year will be all about growth, although that may not necessarily result in huge profits this year. Nonetheless, analysts still expect to see some big numbers from the social media giant this year, even as the competition for Internet advertising dollars heats up.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) issued a report to investors this week saying that they expect the company to continue seeing its ad revenue accelerate. Facebook grew its ad revenue 43 percent year-over-year as of the fourth quarter of 2012.
Morgan Stanley analysts increased their price target from $32 to $34 per share and maintained their Overweight rating on shares of Facebook. They listed their bull case at $40 per share, saying that the stock could head in that direction if the company is “successful with new revenue initiatives.” Their base case at $34 per share is if the company sees “above-market ad revenue growth.” Their bear case is at $24 per share if Facebook’s new ad formats “gain less traction with advertisers.”
Earlier this week Zuckerberg warned investors that they aren’t looking to maximize the company’s profits this year. He said instead they are looking to make decisions that will benefit the company over the long term. Inside Facebook reports that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) will probably be looking to add to its ranks this year. The company hired more than 1,400 new employees last year, and it could add 1,000 more this year. As a result, Zuckerberg believes that the company’s expenses could grow more quickly than its revenue will.
Of course this could also mean that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could have more acquisitions in its near future. The company spent more than $500 million on acquisitions last year. Also they are continuing to invest money in product development. It didn’t announce any big innovations in 2012, likely because that was mostly a transitional year. The company went public last year and began focusing on monetization in order to set the stage for future growth.
Shares of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) were down about 2 percent in Friday afternoon trading.