Despite Scandals, Facebook Expects Solid Earnings

Despite a scourge of privacy scandals, Facebook will report solid first-quarter earnings after the market closes on Wednesday.

That’s according to analysts at Raymond James & Associates, who expect Facebook’s advertising revenue to reach $14.8 billion, which would represent a more than 25% jump, year-over-year.

That’s in line with expectations on Wall Street. Yet, the Raymond James analysts are expecting EBITDA of $7.98 billion, which would top the street’s expectation of $7.90 billion.

The bullish forecast is based on the “continued expectation of solid though decelerating revenue growth [and] increasing monetization of newer platforms (e.g., Instagram, Messenger, and potentially WhatsApp,” according to the investment bank.)

For the first quarter of 2019, the firm is expecting daily active user growth of 7%, year-over-year, which would represent a slight decline from the fourth quarter of 2018.



Additionally, it is estimating ad revenue per average DAU of $9.63, which would represent a roughly 15% increase, year-over-year.

In March, Facebook announced Instagram Checkout, which is expected to provide additional monetization opportunities.

Of note, Facebook’s plan to align its messaging services is changing the way analysts view key metrics.

“We believe Family DAUs are becoming more important given growth of Instagram and Facebook’s plan to merge Messenger, WhatsApp and Instagram’s chat-services into a single service,” according to analysts at Raymond James.

Looking ahead to Facebook’s earnings call, the analysts said they want to hear updates regarding engagement on newer platforms and video, including Watch and Oculus.

“We would also look for any updates on timing of monetization of WhatsApp,” according to the firm.

Last quarter, Facebook indicated that full-year 2019 total expenses would grow by 40%-to-50%, while capital expenditures could approach $20 billion.

The company also said it expected revenues to decelerate throughout the year.

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