Facebook Inc (FB) Upgraded On Audience Network


Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) could have a pro forma $2 billion revenue opportunity through the Facebook Audience Network offering it announced recently, according to Evercore analysts. They upgraded the social network to Overweight and raised their price target from $69 to $75 per share.

Facebook Inc (FB) Upgraded On Audience Network

Why Facebook gets an upgrade

In a report dated May 22, 2014, analysts Ken Sena, Conor McDade and Andrew McNellis say they included the recent pullback in Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares. The Evercore team noted that the pullback came in spite of the social network’s “exceptionally strong quarterly results.”

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In upgrading the company they also factored in the new work on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s mobile ad networking initiative, known as Facebook Audience Network. The analysts said the social network is basically monetizing mobile time spent at a ratio of nine to one of the industry. They believe this supports the idea that Facebook can increase its mobile advertising share.

Facebook’s advantages

The Evercore team points to a handful of advantages Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) currently enjoys. For example, they note that the company enjoys a significant scale in desktop. They say while this does seem “out of place” because of how much mobile is growing, it is still one of the company’s “most valuable attributes.”

When combining the scale along with Facebook’s cross-device user login and mobile scale, they think it ends up being one of the only things that enables Facebook to tie mobile usage to desktop conversions in a manner that is consistent to how Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) (NASDAQ:GOOG) does it through search.

In addition, they point to growth in mobile advertising. They say it is true that users are spending more and more time using Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), which does increase the social network’s per-user monetization. However, they think the real reason for higher monetization is because of “attribution and formats gating factors to mobile industry ad growth.”

Expanding revenue opportunities for Facebook

The Evercore team says there are two possible “sizing approaches” which they estimate will result in $2 billion in pro forma revenue. They said when looking at the $6 per mobile user rate and applying it to 15% of the global smartphone market, they get $2 billion. Second, they also arrive at $2 billion when applying the $2 rate per thousand minutes to 20% of the global mobile time spent on smartphones.

When netting 70% for traffic acquisition costs for publishers, they estimate a $600 million gross profit boost, which would be a 6% pro forma increase to their 2014 estimates.

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