Facebook’s Q2 Ad Revenue Near $1B, Growth Decelerates

Facebook disclosed Q2 ad revenues of $992 million in its first quarterly earnings report, with cash from ads making up 84% of its total haul. Revenue growth was 28% year over year, a deceleration from Q1 when revenue grew 45%.

Facebook is darn close to the billion user mark, with Monthly Active Users at 955 million globally. Daily Active Users were 552 million, or 58% of its total audience. As a percentage of total audience, that DAU metric rose 32 percentage points year-over-year but was flat sequentially, per Citigroup research, suggesting user engagement may have plateaued for the moment.

A few nuggets from the call:

  • Sponsored stories in the newsfeed delivered $1 million per day by the end of Q2.
  • Mobile audience growth was huge; mobile users clocked at 543 million as of June 30, up 67% year-over-year.
  • Facebook Exchange is early but, says COO Sheryl Sandberg, “Our initial testing shows very promising results for advertisers.”
  • Zuckerberg is cool to the idea of a Facebook phone, says it “wouldn’t make that much sense.”

Proving ad ROI appears to be mission #1 for Facebook. It calls out fresh ROI data drawn from 60-plus campaigns based on third party panels and marketing mix models. “The results show that 70% of campaigns resulted in a return on ad spend of 3x or better, and 49% of campaigns showed a return on ad spend of 5x or better,” it says.

Forrester analyst Nate Elliott doesn’t buy it. He writes in a blog post, “Marketers don’t need proof that some Facebook marketing programs work; they need proof that their Facebook marketing program works. Better yet, they need to know which of their tactics are working and which aren’t, so they can learn and improve. That would require better metrics for all marketers, rather than just a handful of case studies from a few marketers.

The earnings release is here and pasted below.


MENLO PARK, Calif., July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) today reported financial results for the second quarter, which ended June 30, 2012.

“Our goal is to help every person stay connected and every product they use be a great social experience,” said Mark Zuckerberg,Facebook founder and CEO. “That’s why we’re so focused on investing in our priorities of mobile, platform and social ads to help people have these experiences with their friends.”

Second Quarter 2012 Financial Summary
In millions, except percentages and per share amounts Q2’12 Q2’11
Revenue $ 1,184 $  895
Income (Loss) from Operations
   GAAP $  (743) $  407
   Non-GAAP $    515 $  477
Operating Margin
   GAAP (63%) 45%
   Non-GAAP 43% 53%
Net Income (Loss)
    GAAP $  (157) $  240
    Non-GAAP $    295 $  285
Diluted Earnings (Loss) per Share (EPS)
    GAAP $ (0.08) $ 0.11
   Non-GAAP $   0.12 $ 0.12


Second Quarter 2012 Operational Highlights

  • Monthly active users (MAUs) were 955 million as of June 30, 2012, an increase of 29% year-over-year.
  • Daily active users (DAUs) were 552 million on average for June 2012, an increase of 32% year-over-year.
  • Mobile MAUs were 543 million as of June 30, 2012, an increase of 67% year-over-year.

Recent Business Highlights


  • Facebook launched several new mobile products, including:
    • a new Facebook Camera app for iPhone,
    • an improved version of the mobile messenger app for both iOS and Android, and
    • several updates to the Facebook Android app.
  • Launched global App Center where users can discover relevant apps for mobile and web.
  • Apple announced plans for a deep Facebook integration throughout the next version of Apple’s iOS and OSX.


  • Expanded the rollout of Sponsored Stories in News Feed and enabled advertisers to buy Sponsored Stories in mobile News Feed.
  • Facebook now has independent ROI data from more than 60 advertising campaigns using a variety of third-party methodologies like panels and marketing mix models. The results show that 70% of campaigns resulted in a return on ad spend of 3x or better, and 49% of campaigns showed a return on ad spend of 5x or better.


  • Announced proposed acquisition of Instagram, a popular photo-sharing app.
  • Entered into a definitive agreement with Yahoo! to settle all pending patent claims between the companies and deepen the companies’ current business partnership.
  • Began serving users from our new data center in Forest City, N.C.
  • Announced that Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook, joined the company’s board of directors.

Second Quarter 2012 Financial Highlights

Revenue — Revenue for the second quarter totaled $1.18 billion, an increase of 32%, compared with $895 million in the second quarter of 2011.

  • Revenue from advertising was $992 million, representing 84% of total revenue and a 28% increase from the same quarter last year.
  • Payments and other fees revenue for the second quarter was $192 million.

Costs and expenses — Second quarter costs and expenses were $1.93 billion, an increase of 295% from the second quarter of 2011, driven primarily by share-based compensation expense. As previously noted in the company’s initial public offering prospectus, share-based compensation expense related to pre-2011 restricted stock units (RSUs) was not recognized in advance of the initial public offering, and as a result of the initial public offering during the second quarter, the company recognized $1.3 billion of share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses.

Income (loss) from operations — For the second quarter, GAAP loss from operations was $743 million, compared to income from operations of $407 million for the second quarter of 2011. Excluding share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, non-GAAP income from operations for the second quarter was $515 million, compared to $477 million for the second quarter of 2011.

Operating margin — GAAP operating margin was negative 63% for the second quarter of 2012, compared to 45% for the second quarter of 2011. Excluding share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, non-GAAP operating margin was 43% for the second quarter of 2012, compared to 53% for the second quarter of 2011.

Income tax provision — The GAAP income tax benefit for the second quarter was $608 million, representing a 79% effective tax rate. The company reported an income tax benefit as a result of the pre-tax loss in the second quarter.  Excluding share-based compensation expense and related payroll tax expenses, the non-GAAP effective tax rate would have been approximately 40%.

Net income (loss) — GAAP net loss for the second quarter was $157 million, compared to net income of $240 million for the second quarter of 2011. GAAP EPS for second quarter of 2012 was $(0.08), largely reflecting the effect of the accounting treatment of pre-2011 RSUs, as previously noted in the company’s initial public offering prospectus. Excluding share-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses, non-GAAP net income was $295 million or $0.12 per share, compared to $285 million and $0.12 per share for the same quarter in the prior year.

Capital expenditures — Capital expenditures for the quarter were $413 million, a 213% year-over-year increase. Additionally, $52 million of equipment was procured or financed through capital leases during the second quarter of 2012.

Cash and marketable securities — Cash and marketable securities grew to $10.2 billion, which includes $6.8 billion in net proceeds from our initial public offering.

Webcast and Conference Call Information

Facebook will host a conference call to discuss the results at 2 p.m. PT / 5 p.m. ET today. The live webcast can be accessed at the Facebook Investor Relations website at http://investor.fb.com/, along with the company’s earnings press release, financial tables and accompanying slide presentation.

Following the call, a replay of the webcast will be available at the same website. A telephonic replay will be available for one week following the conference call at +1 (404) 537-3406 or + 1 (855) 859-2056, conference ID 10569013.

About Facebook

Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family, to discover what’s going on in the world, and to share and express what matters to them.

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