LinkedIn's Earnings: What Investors Need to Know

Social-media job recruiter, LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD  ) is reporting results later today. While the Street is still sifting through Apple's earnings report and eagerly awaiting results from LinkedIn's social-media brethren, Facebook  (NASDAQ: FB  ) , could investors be overlooking an opportunity with LinkedIn? What should LinkedIn investors know, and what can LinkedIn learn from Facebook?

Amazing revenue growth must continue
S&P's Capital IQ consensus estimates project LinkedIn to report revenue of $385.5 million, an amazing 53% higher than last year's quarter. Revenue growth is extremely important and will be watched closely; investors have been extremely bullish on LinkedIn's prospects and have bid the company up from a price-to-sales ratio of 12 to its current ratio of nearly 23. If LinkedIn doesn't hit this ambitious goal, it's possible we could see a large selloff.

Guidance is important too
In addition to reporting phenomenal revenue for this quarter, LinkedIn must provide positive guidance for next quarter and the upcoming year. While the current consensus revenue estimate is receiving the most attention, lost is the fact that analysts are expecting LinkedIn to increase this quarter's revenue by over 40% in the September 2014 quarter by reporting $544.8 million.

Here's why they will do both
In a nutshell, the answer is mobile: LinkedIn has an aggressive plan to build out its mobile network, even hosting its first Mobile Day on Oct. 23. CEO Jeff Weiner hailed mobile as a "game-changer" for LinkedIn's products and revenue.

Looking at the numbers one can understand why: Mobile users are 2.5 times as active as desktop-only users. And while LinkedIn is more than just a social-media advertising model (54% of its revenue is talent solutions—job postings—and another 20% is premium subscriptions), all three of its business divisions will benefit from a more engaged user base.

LinkedIn is aggressively attacking this new opportunity. In addition to the company redesigning its iPad app, it also announced Intro to attache profile information about an email's sender. While there were grumblings about privacy and security, you can see how LinkedIn is aggressively targeting the mobile experience.

Why the sudden change of heart?
Many initially thought that LinkedIn should have continued to build its website around the desktop experience and wonder why LinkedIn decided to pivot to mobile. The answer? To paraphrase famous bank robber Willie Sutton, "because that's where the monetization is."

Facebook shocked investors by growing mobile revenue from nearly nothing to 41% of its total ad revenue in the company's second quarter. Mark Zuckerberg even stated in his call that he expected to have more revenue on mobile than on desktop. Facebook reports tomorrow, and many investors expect the monetization in mobile to continue.

Final Foolish thoughts
LinkedIn is a clear leader in this space and has become a must have for any career-oriented professional. Wall Street has high hopes for revenue growth, guidance, and monetization of mobile. LinkedIn has ambitious targets but appears to have a plan to meet those goals.

Social media investors need to watch this video
LinkedIn is a fantastic story, so much so that we can't cover it all in a single article. Find out what I can't say in this special video. LinkedIn is growing twice as fast as Google and Facebook, and more than three times as fast as Amazon.com and Apple. Watch our jaw-dropping investor alert video today to find out why The Motley Fool's chief technology officer is putting $117,238 of his own money on the table, and why he's so confident this will be a huge winner in 2013 and beyond. Just click here to watch!


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  • Report this Comment On October 29, 2013, at 4:12 PM, JohnS wrote:

    LinkedIn provides a cheaper alternative and a wider reach for companies looking to hire and individuals looking to boost their professional profile, as compared to advertising agencies. They also provide more specified products to boost the overall hiring experience as compared to Facebook. LinkedIn is set for a great future. http://goo.gl/Xo4nnK

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