Facebook Inc (FB), Google Inc (GOOG) Could Beat Ad Expectations


As Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and other online advertising companies prepare their third quarter earnings report, analysts at Susquehanna Financial Group some of them will come out ahead of expectations. They see a possible third quarter beat ahead for LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) and possibly a miss for Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO).

Facebook Inc (FB), Google Inc (GOOG) Could Beat Ad Expectations

Google going through a bumpy patch

Analysts Brian Nowak and Michael Costantini said they did some checks on the online advertising industry right now with focuses on the four companies. They remain bullish on Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in spite of the “near-term ad bumpiness” they see. They note that the search giant isn’t currently seeing incremental budget lift from its Enhanced Campaigns or Product Listing Ads.

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Instead, they believe clients are simply pulling back on spending for mobile search ads and shifting their dollars back to desktop. They believe this is happening as companies determine the best way to drive mobile conversion. In addition, the analysts believe advertisers are increasing their mobile bidding on some of the long-tail, lower cost per click keywords. This is made easier by Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s Enhanced Campaigns platform.

Google estimates modestly lowered

The analysts said although they have not heard of total search budgets—including both desktop and mobile together—declining. However, they are modestly lowering their revenue estimates for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in the second half of this year. In the long term, they believe the company’s Enhanced Campaigns and Product Listing Ads will be positive. They said it will take time for advertisers to analyze the higher return on investment and move more of their dollars toward the search giant.

They also said at this point that third quarter expectations for Google are not stretched, despite the model of a 400 basis point deceleration in two-year ad revenue growth. They remain 3 percent above Wall Street consensus and believe that growth in ad dollars is more important than cost per click. Because expectations for Google are low, they remain Positive on the company with a $1,080 per share price target.

Facebook still seeing strong traction

The analysts said although they have been surprised by Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s ad acceleration, their checks suggest that the social network still saw strong traction during the third quarter. They see the company’s key drivers as direct response dollars, Custom Audiences and app installations.

The analysts raised their ad numbers for the second half of the year by 7 percent and are modeling about 60 percent year over year growth for Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) in the third quarter. They are about 2 percent above Wall Street’s ad expectations for the quarter. Included in their model is 45 percent third quarter ad impression growth and 14 percent third quarter pricing growth.

They raised their price target from $28 per share to $50 per share but remain Neutral on the stock until the social network provides clear timing on the launch of new products, including video ads and Instagram ads.

Positive on LinkedIn, Neutral on Yahoo

The Susquehanna analysts remain Positive on LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) based on their expectations of strong results from the company’s Talent Solutions division. They raised their price target for the company to $300 per share and remain 7 percent above Wall Street consensus for earnings. They believe Marketing Solutions will keep decelerating during the third quarter and that the transition to Sponsored content will still be a headwind for LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD). They’re also expecting the social network’s Talent Solutions results to be strong.

The analysts are Neutral on Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) because they’re expecting week third quarter core results. In fact, they’re 2 percent below Wall Street consensus for revenue and 6 percent below on earnings. However, they don’t see negative catalysts for the search company because of support from the Alibaba valuation and the expected update on the company’s financial performance.

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