Expectations were high for LinkedIn's fourth quarter earnings report, and the Mountain View, Calif.-based business delivered big time after the bell on Thursday.
The professional social network reported fourth quarter earnings of $11.5 million, or 10 cents a share (statement). Non-GAAP earnings were 35 cents a share on a revenue of $303.6 million -- up by 81 percent from the same quarter last year.
Wall Street was expecting LinkedIn to report fourth quarter earnings of 19 cents a share on revenue of $279.5 million.
Immediately after the earnings report was published, LinkedIn shares were up 11 percent in after hours trading.
For 2012 overall, LinkedIn's revenue increased by 86 percent to $972.3 million with non-GAAP earnings of 89 cents per share.
Describing 2012 as a "transformative year," CEO Jeff Weiner explained further in prepared remarks:
We exited 2011 having successfully revamped our underlying development infrastructure. Based on that investment, we said that 2012 would be a year of accelerated product innovation, and it was. The products we delivered throughout the year drove member engagement and financial results to record levels in the fourth quarter.
For the outlook, LinkedIn's forecast is actually much more ambitious when compared with analyst expectations. The social networking company is projecting Q1 revenue to fall between $305 million and $310 million.
Wall Street is expecting first quarter earnings of 23 cents a share on revenue of $301 million.
For the full year, LinkedIn is planning on revenue to fall within a range of $1.41 billion to $1.44 billion. Wall Street is looking for earnings of $1.28 a share on revenue of $1.44 billion.
More highlights from LinkedIn's fourth quarter of 2012:
Ended the quarter and the year with approximately 202 million members. LinkedIn boasted that it adds "approximately two members per second."
More than 64 percent of LinkedIn members now come from international markets.