LinkedIn holds strong for Q3 earnings but falters on Q4 outlook

LinkedIn also held steady with its user count, citing once again that it has "more than 300 million members."
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

LinkedIn handed in its third quarter earnings report after the bell on Thursday, and both the results and reactions were all over the map.

The professional social network reported a net loss of $4.3 million (compared to $3.4 million a year ago), or three cents per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were 52 cents per share on a revenue of $568 million, up 45 percent from the same quarter last year.

Wall Street was expecting earnings of 47 cents per share with revenue of $557.49 million.

LinkedIn also held steady with its user count, citing once again that it has "more than 300 million members."

Still, shareholders appear to have been spooked the day before All Hallows' Eve, sending shares into a dip during after-hours trading.

Without being overly showing in light of the better-than-expected -- albeit conservative to some -- results, CEO Jeff Weiner reflected in the report that "LinkedIn made significant progress against several long-term strategic investments we began this year."

"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," Weiner continued.

Much like total revenue, LinkedIn's three major divisions saw departmental revenue climb by nearly 45 percent annually each.

Talent Solutions, in particular, accounted for the lion's share with $345 million, up 45 percent year-over-year to account for 61 percent of total revenue.

Recruiting and talent products have been at the top of the agenda in October. At the LinkedIn Talent Solutions two-day summit in San Francisco last week, LinkedIn vice president of talent solutions Wade Burgess offered a peek at the roadmap through 2015, starting by building a real-time data visualization tool for searching and prioritizing job candidates.

LinkedIn is also piloting a new search experiencing to spot patterns, such as top schools from which that a company tends to recruit and employees that were contacts before joining the business. Burgess insisted these people are much more likely to respond to InMail, LinkedIn's version of direct messaging, among other traits, which Burgess posited will make for a better fit in the long run.

Weiner also affirmed to the audience of more than 4,000 attendees that talent is the social media brand's "most important operating activity."

For the current quarter, Wall Street expects earnings of 52 cents per share and revenue of $611.55 million.

However, LinkedIn only followed up with a Q4 revenue guidance range of $600 million to $605 million with earnings of 49 cents per share.

For 2014 overall, the Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered company projected a revenue range of $2.175 billion and $2.180 billion.

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