Shares of LinkedIn (NYSE:LNKD.DL) stock were up more than 1.5% after hours as third-quarter results beat expectations. Here's a closer look at the final totals versus Wall Street's projections:

YoY Growth
YoY Growth

Consensus estimate

$557.68 million




Q3 actuals

$568.27 million





+$10.59 million




Source: S&P Capital IQ.

"LinkedIn made significant progress against several long-term strategic investments we began this year," said Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, in a press release. "During the third quarter, we took meaningful steps in increasing the scale and relevance of job listings, growing the professional publishing platform, and expanding our member network in new geographies and demographics."

What went right: Weiner calls out job listings for a good reason. Talent Solutions -- the division that works most closely with recruiters -- grew 45% year over year and accounted for 61% of revenue, up from 60% in the prior quarter. Marketing Solutions improved 45%, and Premium Subscriptions revenue, its smallest group, was up 43%. Gross margin also held steady at 86.8%.

What went wrong: LinkedIn is still recording GAAP losses thanks to heavy use of stock options and reinvestment in the underlying business. Options expense came in at $82.9 million in Q3 and, at 52.3%, is growing faster than revenue. And while overall membership grew from 259 million to 332 million, a 28.2% increase, engagement accelerated at a slightly slower pace -- 27.3%, as members viewed 28 billion pages versus 22 billion pages in last year's Q3.

What's next: Looking ahead to Q4, LinkedIn projects $600 million to $605 million in revenue, and $0.49 a share of Non-GAAP earnings per share. Analysts had been targeting $612 million and $0.52, respectively, according to S&P Capital IQ. That may not be much of a concern, however. LinkedIn has beat the consensus analyst earnings target in each of the last five quarters, usually by 10% or more.

For the full year, LinkedIn forecasts between $2.175 billion and $2.180 billion in revenue, and $1.89 in Non-GAAP earnings per share. In 2013, the company earned $1.61 a share on $1.529 billion in revenue.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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