Facebook Q3 results – Facebook Tanks 9% due to Slowing User Growth, Weak WhatsApp Revenue and heavy Investment Plans

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Facebook reported its third-quarter earnings yesterday taking the Facebook stock down 9.76 percent in after-hours trading.  Facebook’s growth slowed from 3.125 percent last quarter to 2.27 percent this quarter. While revenue and EPS were better than expected, Facebook’s new CFO, David Wehner, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg both warned that 2015 will be a major “investment” year for the company. Facebook’s expenses could grow between 50% and 70% next year. Facebook plans to increase headcount and invest in advertising technology.

Facebook revenue was $3.2 billion this quarter, nudging past Wall Street’s expectation of $3.12 billion. Its advertising revenue was $2.96 billion, a 64% increase from the same quarter one year ago. The rest of it — $264 million came from payments, which is a 13% increase from the same quarter last year. Facebook’s mobile advertising revenue continues to grow. This quarter, mobile ad revenue was up to 66% of the company’s total revenue. Last quarter it was 61%.

Facebook broke out financials of its $22 billion WhatsApp acquisition for the first time, and they were a tad disappointing. WhatsApp brought in just $15 million in revenue in the first half of 2014 despite having 600 million users.

Facebook’s monthly active users were 1.35 billion, a 14% increase. Mobile monthly active users were 1.12 billion and daily active users were 864 million. The company sidestepped the one question that could have instilled confidence…or sent it into a death spiral: teen engagement. The company refused to break out any data about usage levels of teens, which are widely thought to be abandoning Facebook for apps like Snapchat. When asked about engagement for different demographics, Facebook’s CFO David Wehner said the company had nothing to report on specific cohorts of users. The mere absence of reassuring statements about teens combined with the slowing user growth offset Facebook’s other successes.

While Facebook has conquered much of the developed world, slowing growth indicates it may not just be a matter of time until everyone has a Facebook profile. Some people might simply not want to be more open and connected.

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