This article originally appeared on Fool.com
WASHINGTON, DC For the most part, it doesnt seem that investors are all that happy withFacebooks (NASDAQ: FB.US) latest earnings release. After tapping fresh all-time highs in the regular session, shares fell as much as 11% in after hours trading. Shares have recovered today, but the drop still represents a clear buying opportunity for investors looking to get into the largest social network on the planet.
Were the figures even that bad?
The figures were good
Total revenue jumped 59% to $3.2 billion. Of that total, $246 million was payments and fees revenue with the remaining $3 billion coming from the core advertising business. At this point, two-thirds of ad revenue is mobile, which translates into $2 billion this quarter. Facebook is up to $6.2 billion in trailing-12-month mobile ad revenue. For a business that practically didnt exist two years ago, that aint half bad.
All of Facebooks pertinent user metrics also continue to march higher, albeit at a slower pace given how large the social network has become. This isnt likeTwitter, which got crushed following its own earnings report on continued user sluggishness. For Facebook, with a monthly active user base nearly five times as big, deceleration is indicative of relatively high penetration rates.
For instance, Facebooks home market of the U.S. and Canada added just 2 million MAUs this quarter. The geography with the most MAU additions was Asia, adding 16 million MAUs. The U.S. and Canada is Facebooks bread and butter from a monetization standpoint, and the key there is focusing on further growing average revenue per user. In that department, Facebook delivered in spades this quarter, sequentially growing total ARPU in the U.S. and Canada from $6.44 to $7.39.
Over 1.1 billion of Facebooks total MAUs now access the service on a mobile device, representing 83% penetration. In fact, 456 million, or 34% of total users, exclusively use Facebook on a mobile device.
After everything was said and done, Facebook walked away with adjusted net income of $1.15 billion, a 73% jump from last year.
Cost guidance was scary
The real culprit behind the drop was Facebooks guidance, specifically as it relates to the companys cost structure going forward. Total costs this year are expected to jump 45%-50% from 2013, driven primarily by the two sizable acquisitions that Facebook closed this year, Oculus VR and WhatsApp. Since both deals entail considerable amounts of stock, Facebook must recognize hefty stock-based compensation charges.
Additionally, Facebook expects 2015 to be a year of significant investment in future growth opportunities. Expenses are expected to rise another 55%-75% from 2014 levels.
Its worth the wait
To be clear, those are some big numbers when were talking about cost growth, numbers that will inevitably drag on profitability. But at the same time, were talking about a stock thats priced for growth, trading at 80 times earnings and 21 times sales. For Facebook to ever live up to that valuation, it has to invest in future growth opportunities. You cant have one without the other.
Among other things, video ads are a huge opportunity for Facebook, and pursuing video requires significant infrastructure investments to bolster performance due to the bandwidth requirements. The domestic TV advertising market is estimated at $66 billion, and Facebook wants a piece of it. Mark Zuckerberg noted that Facebook hit a new milestone with videos this quarter, achieving 1 billion video views in a day for the first time ever.
Make no mistake, this is part of the growth process. Tens years from now when investors look back, theyll fondly recall how those investments made in 2015 were totally worth it.
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Evan Niu, CFAowns shares of Facebook.