Since going public last May, socia-media giant Facebook (FB) has been on a huge roller coaster ride. The stock took a beating out of the gate, started to rally late last year, and has seen its shares rise by 47% since the beginning of November.
With so much enthusiasm in the stock as of late, investors are going to pay close attention this afternoon when Facebook announces its fourth quarter results. Analysts have forecast earnings of $0.15 per share, and if Facebook wants to continue its impressive run as of late, it needs to hit that mark.
The biggest complaint most critics have about the company is its lack of ad revenue, in particular mobile revenues. Facebook has the biggest social network in the world, and boasts around 700 million active users (although this number is extremely difficult to verify). The next closest social media site is Google+ (GOOG) with 340 million active users.
With such a huge numbers of eyeballs on the site, it is a potential gold mine if it can solve the riddle of how to monetize its heavy traffic.
Everyone always knew that Facebook was going to go through growing pains when it went public, but it appears as though 2012 was a good year, with the compay making big advancements in its mobile monetization.
Analysts expect the company to report advertising revenues of $1.4 billion during the quarter, with $335 million coming from mobile advertising.
The company recently unveiled Graph Search, which allows users to run searches based on Facebook's Social Graph, which it believes will provide more accurate and relevant search results than the company's existing search feature and hopefully will provide an alternative to Google.
It is still too a bit early to turn completely bullish on the stock, but Facebook is starting to prove doubters wrong. With the popularity of Facebook, the stock will be a blockbuster if it can prove its ability to tap into its mobile users.
Consider this… in 2011 there were no ads on Facebook's mobile app. Fast forward to 2012, and analysts believe it will edge out Google for the top spot in mobile display advertising. Impressive to say the least.
The company has a long way to go, and plenty of hurdles to clear, but for now it appears to be moving in the right direction, and a positive-fourth quarter results could finally see the stock climb its way back to the $38 IPO price.
Disclaimer: The author of this article has a long position in Facebook (FB).
Michael Fowlkes is a financial writer who has been with the Fresh Brewed Media family since 2004. Over the course of his tenure with Fresh Brewed Media, he has worn many hats, including portfolio manager, options analyst, and writer. Michael received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Tech in Accounting and got his start in finance working as a stock trader for six years at Chase Investment Counsel in Charlottesville, Va. His articles typically cover big-picture events and forecasting what impact they will have on the stock market. In addition to writing for Fresh Brewed Media, Michael also wrote for AOL's BloggingStocks for three years, focusing most of his attention on the energy and technology sectors. Follow him on Twitter at @MFatMICenter.