If you invested $3,000 in Facebook stock five years ago, your holdings would be worth roughly $8,200 based on Thursday's share prices. The same investment in e-commerce innovator Shopify would have yielded even better returns -- with the stock's roughly 4,000% return across the same stretch boosting the value of a $3,000 initial investment to $123,000.
Growth for social media and e-commerce weren't exactly secrets five years ago, and investors who backed category leaders in these fields generally enjoyed very strong returns. Even if you missed out on some of the tech sector's recent winners, don't sweat it. There are still companies in the early stages of tapping into big growth trends.
Read on for a look at two tech stocks that are at the top of industries with huge growth potential.
Zynga (ZNGA) has only recently surpassed the valuation peak that it hit back when Farmville was the biggest thing in the social video game market. Farmville is hardly the sales generator that it was back when casual-focused games were largely distributed through Facebook's browser-based platform, but Zynga's internal development initiatives and impressive acquisition spree have helped the company establish itself as a leader in the current mobile-centric gaming market.
Valued at roughly $11.6 billion and trading at 26 times this year's expected earnings and 4.3 times expected sales, Zynga currently exemplifies the concept of "growth at a reasonable price." The company has demonstrated an impressive ability to extend the lifecycles of legacy titles and keep players engaged with regular content updates, and its successful acquisition push over the last half-decade and beyond has helped make it the United States' leading mobile games publisher.
Within the last five years alone, the company has completed acquisitions of studios including Peak, Small Giant, and Gram, adding franchises including Empires & Puzzles, Merge Dragons, and Toon Blast to its catalog. Most recently, the company announced that it is on track to purchase Echtra games -- a studio consisting of developers previously associated with Activision Blizzard's popular Diablo franchise.
Zynga is still monetizing decade-plus-old properties, including Words With Friends, Zynga Poker, and, yes, even Farmville. The company has established an impressive track record of extending product lifecycles, and new studios and franchises it acquires through acquisitions could produce fantastic results if the company can continue to work its monetization magic.
2. Match Group
Match Group (MTCH 2.58%) is a leader in the online dating market and owns platforms including Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and Match.com. While its core services are available free of charge, the company generates revenue by selling premium service upgrades that offer expanded features (and better chances of making romantic connections) to subscribers.
Tinder is the company's biggest sales and earnings driver, but the company's ecosystem approach to the dating app market creates opportunities to share technologies and user engagement between platforms. A 2019 report from a researcher at Stanford University found that online dating had become the single most popular way to meet romantic partners in the U.S., but growth for dating apps is still just getting started, and Match Group looks primed to be a long-term winner in the space.
The company should be able to broaden its reach in international markets, and it will have opportunities to boost user spending by adding new features and increasing revenue from advertising. Relatively new services including Hinge and Plenty of Fish live streaming have been posting encouraging growth, and Tinder still looks very strong after recording more revenue than any other non-video game app in 2020.
With the company valued at roughly $38 billion and trading at approximately 62 times this year's expected earnings, Match Group is definitely a growth-dependent stock. However, investors who take a buy-and-hold approach with the dating app leader's stock stand a good chance of seeing market-beating returns over the long term.