Facebook topped Wall Street estimates for revenue in the first quarter with an 18% gain but missed targets for earnings per share.
Total revenue came in at $17.7 billion, while earnings of $1.71 per share missed analysts’ consensus by three cents.
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The company said its daily active users rose 11% in March compared with the same month a year ago, reaching 1.73 billion. Monthly active users as of March 31 totaled 2.6 billion, up 10% from the same point in 2019.
Shares in the social media giant have crawled back to their level of nearly two months ago, closing Wednesday trading at $194.19. They tacked on more gains in after-hours trading as investors greeted the news warmly, especially in light of several other queasy-making earnings reports this spring.
Ad revenue, which accounts for the vast majority of the total, rose 17% for the quarter but experienced a significant drop as March progressed and the COVID-19 shutdowns took effect across the world. “We experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads, over the last three weeks of the first quarter of 2020,” the company said.
That pattern matches what Alphabet reported Tuesday for key platforms like YouTube.
Instead of guidance for the second quarter or all of 2020, Facebook said it would offer a “snapshot” of the impact of the virus on advertising.
“After the initial steep decrease in advertising revenue in March, we have seen signs of stability reflected in the first three weeks of April, where advertising revenue has been approximately flat compared to the same period a year ago, down from the 17% year-over-year growth in the first quarter of 2020,” the company said.
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