LinkedIn Q3 Beats The Street, Sales Of $568M, EPS $0.52

In a quarter that has seen a mixed set of results for social networks Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn today reported its quarterly results, handily beating analyst estimates on sales of $568 million, up 45% compared to a year ago and sales of $393 million and non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.52.

But it also posted a wider net loss of $4.3 million, versus to net loss of $3.4 in Q3 2013. Non-GAAP net income was $66 million, versus $47 million a year ago.

The company today has been trading a couple of percentage points higher than its opening price of $198.46/share in anticipation of strong earnings.

Analysts were expecting revenue of $557.5 million and non-GAAP EPS of $0.47 per share for the social network based around people’s jobs.

In Q2, LinkedIn beat analysts’ estimates on both counts. Revenue for the second quarter was $534 million and its EPS (non-GAAP diluted) was $0.51.

With a mandate to continue growing its user base among white-collar workers and also maximise the revenue it makes from that base around recruitment and advertising products, LinkedIn has been on a tear in the last couple of years with updates to its main web service, several updates to its mobile apps, and acquisitions.

The aim has been twofold: to build out both its premium business services and also be more than just a place for people to come when they are looking for a new job, or to hire someone for a job, to improve overall engagement on the platform.

The latter has seen the company launch several features that play up its role as a home for users to read and share professional content — from news to features about productivity and so on.

This last quarter, however, has been relatively quiet on these fronts. A launch of LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator tool as a standalone app and the quiet retiring of its free InMaps tool to map the connections of your personal LinkedIn network speak to how the company is sharpening up its focus on building more products out of its paid services, and potentially using its analytics in a more strategic way to bolster that. (Its acquisition of marketing platform Bizo happened just on the cusp of the two reporting quarters.)

Indeed, the idea of building on the investments made earlier in the year, rather than launching more, seemed to be the mantra for CEO Jeff Weiner as well.

“LinkedIn made significant progress against several long-term strategic investments we began this year,” he said in a statement. “During the third quarter, we took meaningful steps in increasing the scale and relevance of job listings, growing the professional publishing platform, and expanding our member network in new geographies and demographics.”

The company today didn’t provide updated user numbers, quoting the “over 300 million” figure announced in June of this year. Some other highlights from its different business divisions:

  • Talent Solutions — otherwise known as the company’s recruitment products and services — continues to be the company’s biggest earner, now accounting for 61% of all revenues. It brought in $345 million this past quarter, up 45% versus a year ago.
  • Marketing Solutions — the company’s advertising products — also grew, albeit far less than recruitment services. It’s up 45% to $109 million, and is a stead 19% of revenues. It will be interesting to see how Bizo impacts this division in the quarters ahead.
  • Premium Subscriptions — the paid subscriptions to have access to more LinkedIn features — edged ahead of ads for sales of $114 million, up 43% versus Q3 2013. It’s 20% of total revenue, same as a year ago.

The U.S. is 60 percent of all revenues, at $343 million, and while LinkedIn is pushing harder into markets like China, it’s pulling in $225 million at the moment.

More to come after the call in about an hour.