It's difficult to imagine, but as spectacular as Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB ) recent earning's report was, it gets even better when you dig a bit deeper. As discussed in a recent article prior to Facebook's Q2 report, revenue growth, as expected, was outstanding, earnings were through the roof, and mobile advertising revenue continues to impress. Clearly, the steady stock price improvement leading up to Wednesday's news was justified.
But Facebook's quarterly results really get interesting when you peel back the outer layers. A few areas in particular, namely income from operations, margins, and a slew of opportunities going forward, will pave the way for more blow out quarters. Digital advertising king Google (NASDAQ: GOOG ) (NASDAQ: GOOGL ) may not be shaking in its boots, but you can bet it's keeping a sharp eye on what Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and team have planned next.
The good news
In what can only be described as a gross understatement, Zuckerberg said of Facebook's Q2, "We had a good second quarter." Revenue jumped 61% compared to Q2 of 2013, to $2.91 billion, and with the Facebook engine hitting on all cylinders, its first $3 billion plus revenue quarter shouldn't be more than a couple months away.
Advertising accounted for $2.68 billion of Facebook's quarterly revenue, a 67% year over year improvement, and the transition to becoming a mobile-first platform continues to pay off. Of Facebook's ad revenue for the quarter, 62% of it came from mobile advertising: that's a 50% improvement over last year. And it's Facebook's continual climb up the mobile advertising ladder that should be an eye-opener for Google.
If Google has a weakness, many would point to its declining share of the mobile advertising market. Two years ago, Google accounted for 52.6% of all mobile ads, compared to Facebook's paltry 5.4%. But 2014 is expected to paint a much different picture of the mobile ad landscape. If the estimates prove correct, and there's no reason to think they won't after Facebook's outstanding mobile ad results, Google's share of the market will decline to 46.8%, while Facebook's will climb to 21.7%. That still leaves Google with the lion's share of mobile ads, but for how much longer?
Facebook also hit it out of the ballpark generating net income. Consensus estimates leading up to Facebook's earnings release were for $0.32 a share, which in and of itself would have been impressive compared to last year's Q2 non-GAAP earnings of $0.19 a share. As it turns out, Facebook earned $0.42 per share on a non-GAAP basis, but it's how Facebook was able to accomplish the earnings surprise that sets the table for future growth.
Now, the really good news
So, how did Facebook generate 61% more in revenue, yet were able to more than double earnings per share? This is where things really get good. Even with the dramatic jump in revenue, Facebook only increased expenses a mere 22%. That means the majority of all that new revenue fell to the bottom line, just as it will going forward.
The keen management of expenses is also why Facebook's operating income jumped a whopping 147% compared to last year, to $1.39 billion, and GAAP operating margin improved to 48% from Q2 2013's already solid 31%. In other words, Facebook has much of its infrastructure accounted for and in place, which should continue to drive strong margins, income, and earnings well into the future.
Final Foolish thoughts
Facebook's transition to becoming a lean, mean, digital advertising machine certainly bodes well for its future, particularly when you consider the multiple revenue opportunities on the horizon. Facebook also has its new Oculus virtual reality acquisition to incorporate into the platform, and ultimately monetize, same with mobile messenger WhatsApp, in addition to Zuckerberg's mission to bring Internet access to the world. With 1.32 billion monthly average users, there are a lot of potential "friends" for Facebook to make, especially in emerging markets. And nearly half of Facebook's revenue is generated domestically, even though the majority of users are international, offering yet another opportunity for long-term growth.
As good as Facebook's Q2 is on the surface, it gets even better after further review. That's great news for investors wondering if they're too late to enjoy the Facebook ride. As good as last quarter was, the Facebook story is going to get even better from here.
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