Facebook investors are getting anxious

Yes, Facebook has displayed a lot of new products, from a new news feed to Graph Search or Facebook Home, as they call it. All that adds to the bill and to the coolness factor, but not necessarily to the company’s profits. The social network reported earnings per share of 12 cents, flat with the first quarter 2012. Revenue rose 38% to $1.46 billion, slightly better than the analyst consensus.

It is true that ad revenue met estimates, as better-than-expected mobile offset weaker-than-expected desktop results, but the company has admitted that its costs will rise 50% in 2013. So the message to investor is: you are here for the long run, so you have to be patient and wait for another year to gather profit. And that is because on the users front, Facebook is doing well: they said 665 million users checked into their website daily last quarter, beating estimates of 640 million. That’s up 26% from last year.

Even CEO Mark Zuckerberg admitted that patience is something you need to have when investing there: “Aside from ads, I do want to temper near-term expectations a little bit on revenue lines coming from other areas, like Gifts or Graph Search. I think these can be big opportunities for us long term, but for the foreseeable future the most important thing for us is to continue building out great consumer experiences around these products,” he said. Clear enough?

However, many investors are getting nervous and many users are leaving the social network: Facebook has lost 10 million users in the US and seen no growth in monthly visitors in the UK over the past year, according to market research firm Nielsen. One one hand users have privacy concerns. On the other, they seem to like rival messaging services like WhatsApp, Line or even the Chinese WeChat.

About the Author

Ana Fuentes
Columnist for El País and a contributor to SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión), was the first editor-in-chief of The Corner. Currently based in Madrid, she has been a correspondent in New York, Beijing and Paris for several international media outlets such as Prisa Radio, Radio Netherlands or CNN en español. Ana holds a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University in Madrid and the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Master's in Journalism from Spanish newspaper El País.

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