Facebook delivers light Q4 revenue guidance, mixed Q3 results

The social media giant also expects its "metaverse" investments will reduce operating profits by $10B for FY 2021, as it begins breaking out Facebook Reality Labs as its own business segment
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Facebook on Monday reported mixed third-quarter financial results, seemingly shrugging off the slew of recent bad headlines driven largely by whistleblower disclosures. Shares were up in after-hours trading. 

Still, blaming Apple's iOS 14 changes, the social media giant gave light fourth-quarter guidance. The company also said it expects its "metaverse" investments will reduce operating profits by $10B for FY 2021, as it begins breaking out Facebook Reality Labs as its own business segment. 

Facebook expects fourth-quarter 2021 total revenue to be in a range of $31.5 billion to $34 billion, the company said. 

Analysts are expecting on-average revenue of $34.89 billion. 

"Our outlook reflects the significant uncertainty we face in the fourth quarter in light of continued headwinds from Apple's iOS 14 changes and macroeconomic and COVID-related factors," CFO Dave Wehner said in a statement. "In addition, we expect non-ads revenue to be down year-over-year in the fourth quarter as we lap the strong launch of Quest 2 during last year's holiday shopping season."

The company's business has already suffered to an extent from Apple's iOS 14.5 update, released in April. Facebook has complained about Apple's new App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, which requires app developers to get permission from a user in order to track their activity across other apps and websites when using an iPhone or iPad. Facebook's social media competitor Snap has similarly complained that the updated iOS platform is impacting its revenues.

For Q3, Facebook's net income came to $9.19 billion, with earnings of $3.22 per diluted share. Revenue came to $29 billion, up 35% year-over-year. 


Analysts were expecting earnings of $3.19 on revenue of $29.58 billion.

"We made good progress this quarter, and our community continues to grow," CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. "I'm excited about our roadmap, especially around creators, commerce, and helping to build the metaverse."

Advertising revenue for the quarter was $28.28 billion, up 33%. "Other" revenue totaled $734 million, up 195%.

Facebook's daily active users were 1.93 billion on average for September 2021, an increase of 6% year-over-year. Its monthly active users totaled 2.91 billion as of September, an increase of 6% year-over-year.

The number of people active daily on at least one of Facebook's products -- including Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp -- was 2.81 billion on average for September, an increase of 11% year-over-year. Monthly active people for Facebook's "family" of products were 3.58 billion as of September, increasing 12% year-over-year.

Starting in Q4, Facebook will report its revenue and operating profit for two segments: The first segment, Family of Apps, will include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and other services. The second segment, Facebook Reality Labs (FRL), will include augmented and virtual reality related hardware, software and content. 

"As we have discussed, we are dedicating significant resources toward our augmented and virtual reality products and services, which are an important part of our work to develop the next generation of online social experiences," Wehner said in a statement. "We expect our investment in Facebook Reality Labs to reduce our overall operating profit in 2021 by approximately $10 billion. We are committed to bringing this long-term vision to life, and we expect to increase our investments for the next several years."

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