It's that time of the year again. Earnings season is just about in full swing, and some big tech names will report in just a few weeks. One company that attract lots of investor attention when it reports earnings is social-network Facebook (NASDAQ:FB). Investors will look to Facebook's second quarter to see if the company can sustain high levels of growth.

Facebook is scheduled to report its second-quarter results on Wednesday, July 26. Here's an early preview of some of the key areas to watch when Facebook releases its latest quarterly update.

The sign outside the main entrance to Facebook HQ.

Image source: Facebook.

Revenue and growth

In Facebook's first quarter, revenue soared. The company's top line was up an impressive 49% year over year. While this was a deceleration compared to Facebook's 54% revenue growth in its fourth quarter of 2016, it was still high enough for the key metric to remain a hot topic going into Facebook's second-quarter earnings report.

Unsurprisingly, analysts are optimistic about Facebook's second-quarter revenue. On average, analysts expect Facebook to report second-quarter revenue of about $9.2 billion, up 43% year over year. 

User growth

Just before Facebook's second quarter ended, the company disclosed that its core social network, Facebook, saw its monthly active users surpass 2 billion. We know Facebook's monthly active users during Q2 increased by at least 17% year over year and more than 3% sequentially, about on par with the company's 17% and 4% year-over-year and sequential growth, respectively, in the key user metric in Q1.

But one important user metric that Facebook hasn't disclosed yet is the social network's daily active users, or users that log in and use the network on a daily basis. Not only are these Facebook's most valuable users, but investors can get a sense of engagement trends on the platform by understanding the trajectory of Facebook's daily active users.

In Facebook's most recent quarter, the company said it had garnered 1.23 billion daily active users, up 18% year over year and 4% sequentially. Investors should look for similar growth in Facebook's monthly and daily active users in Q2, bringing daily active users to about 1.28 billion.


Perhaps one of the most telling areas to watch when Facebook reports its second-quarter results will be any commentary on management's outlook for the second half of the year. Since last year, Facebook management has been warning investors that it expects revenue growth to come down meaningfully in the second half of 2017 as ad-load growth levels off.

Since ads are one of its key revenue growth drivers, Facebook's revenue growth could decelerate significantly when this happens. So far, management hasn't provided very specific guidance as to what to expect, other than noting that it expects growth to slow "meaningfully." 

Facebook ad product on a smartphone

Facebook ad product. Image source: Facebook.

While it's not Facebook's normal practice to provide specific revenue guidance, management does occasionally provide more specific forecasts for its expected expense growth and capital expenditures. Maybe given how material the loss of this catalyst will be to Facebook's revenue, management will similarly opt to provide more specific revenue-growth expectations for the second half of the year. If management's expectations for revenue growth in the second half of the year are more pessimistic than investors are expecting, this could be bad for the stock.

Facebook will report its second-quarter earnings after market close on July 26. In addition, management will host a conference call to discuss its second-quarter results at 2:00 p.m. PDT on the same day. Stay tuned at The Motley Fool for more Facebook coverage, as well as a Foolish take on the company's financial results after they go live.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.