With just over a week left in Q2, investors are gearing up for earnings season. Quarterly reports are bound to feature interesting insights, particularly since many companies are up against some COVID-19-impacted year-ago comparisons. Social network giant Facebook (META -2.57%) is one of those companies, as it's up against a rather easy year-ago comparison.
Here's why investors should expect enormous growth from Facebook during Q2 despite one meaningful headwind during the quarter.
Expect approximately 50% growth
Facebook crushed analyst estimates when it reported its first-quarter results. Revenue surged 48% year over year to $26.2 billion, leading to a 94% increase in net income. Analysts, on average, were expecting revenue of about $23.7 billion.
Growth, said Facebook CFO Dave Wehner during the company's first-quarter earnings call, was fueled by "sustained growth in the digital economy and our continued success in helping businesses engage with consumers across our services." More specifically, Facebook's advertising business was helped by a 30% year-over-year increase in price per ad and 12% more ad impressions across all of the company's services.
Management expects strong momentum to persist in Q2. The tech company guided for its second-quarter revenue growth rate "to remain stable or modestly accelerate relative to the growth rate in the first quarter of 2021," said Wehner in the company's earnings call. Given how conservative Facebook's guidance usually is, this context suggests the social network could grow its revenue around 50% year over year during the period. Lapping an easy year-ago comparison -- when revenue grew only 11% as COVID-19 related lockdowns caused many marketers to slow down their ad spend -- should help.
Wall Street analysts seem to be thinking that Facebook is lowballing its Q2 forecast by a wide margin. On average, analysts are modeling for Facebook's second-quarter revenue to increase about 60% year over year -- more than a modest acceleration from Q1's 48% growth.
Why Facebook's guidance was impressive
Notably, Apple (AAPL 0.88%) recently started rolling out ways for users to start opting out of tracking for ad targeting. Facebook said it expected this new feature to begin having an impact on the social network company's ad revenue during Q2. But what's interesting is that Facebook's aggressive view for revenue growth during the period factored this headwind into its outlook. Indeed, Wehner said he believes the company can maintain or even improve ad performance over the long run -- even with less data -- thanks to the company's ongoing efforts to help advertisers optimize for an evolving advertising environment.
Investors will get to see how Facebook performed in Q2 when the company reports earnings next month. The social network usually reports its second-quarter results toward the end of July.