Facebook released its Q3 results. The number of users of the social network Facebook, who are active at least once a month, reached 2.91 billion people at the end of September, having increased by 6% over the year. The number of daily active users increased by 6% to 1.93 billion. The company’s revenue increased to $ 29.01 billion from $ 21.47 billion a year earlier, which was worse than the consensus forecast of $ 29.49 billion. July-September amounted to $ 9.19 billion compared to $ 7.85 billion in the same period last year. Earnings per share rose to $ 3.22 from $ 2.71, in line with market expectations. The decrease in indicators was due to the new privacy settings in Apple products on the version of the iOS 14.5 operating platform, which increases the level of privacy. For comparison, in the previous quarter, Facebook’s net profit doubled, revenue – by 56%.
Since April of this year, Apple began requiring application owners to ask users for information about what data they are willing to share. Facebook ad revenues in July-September increased by 33%, to $ 28.28 billion, while in the previous quarter their increase was 56%. Facebook notes that changing privacy settings for Apple devices has worsened the ability to target ads, as well as get advertisers information about how successful their placement is. We would like to note that already in August it became known about new risks for Facebook’s business in connection with the new privacy settings on iOS 14.5, but the market reacted rather nervously to this fact following the publication of reports for the third quarter.
Facebook’s fourth-quarter revenue forecast was also worse than market forecasts, and management noted significant uncertainty over the impact of operating system changes on Apple devices – iOS 14.5, as well as macroeconomic factors and the impact of COVID-19. According to Facebook’s forecast, its revenue in the current quarter will amount to $ 31.5-34 billion, while the market consensus suggests an increase in the indicator to $ 34.72 billion. According to the results of yesterday’s main trading session, Facebook shares fell 6%, which in our opinion looks like redundant. We continue to have a positive view of the company’s business and see long-term growth drivers for the issuer’s capitalization. We keep the target valuation at $ 415.
We believe that Facebook’s dominance in social and display advertising, combined with a client base of over 10 million small and medium-sized advertisers, makes Facebook one of the largest beneficiaries of the corporate transition from traditional corporate advertising to digital channels. Strong traffic to Facebook and Instagram apps continues to drive healthy monetization growth through ad impressions, while ad price increases will continue amid strong demand due to recovery in economic activity. We believe Shops, WhatsApp, and Oculus have huge growth potential, and Facebook remains a leader in areas such as social advertising, messaging and virtual reality.
We single out the following factors among the main growth drivers for Facebook’s capitalization. First, we expect to see growth in mobile and video ad revenues, as well as monetization of the Instagram platform. Secondly, Instagram will continue to grow its user base not only in 2021, but also in the long term. Thirdly, we believe that management has given a fairly conservative estimate for Q4. We believe that the ongoing Covid-19 situation will support the business as a whole. Finally, Facebook announced the launch of a new $ 50 billion share buyback program, which should support the stock over the medium term.
Facebook is engaged in building products to create utility for users, developers, and advertisers. People use Facebook to stay connected with their friends and family, to discover what is going on in the world around them, and to share and express what matters to them to the people they care about. Developers can use the Facebook Platform to build applications and Websites that integrate with Facebook to reach its global network of users and to build personalized and social products. It offers advertisers a combination of reach, relevance, social context and engagement.