SAN FRANCISCO -- For the second straight quarter, LinkedIn saw its stock price soar. On Thursday it released earnings results showing strong growth for the professional social network's talent recruiting product as well as increased traffic on mobile. Shares of the company climbed more than 9 percent in after-hours trading.
The Mountain View, California, company posted revenue of $780 million for the third quarter, up 37 percent year-to-year, and far ahead of analysts' expecations of $755.64 million. Likewise, the company beat analysts' expectations of 46 cents earnings per share and posted 78 cents earnings per share for the third quarter, which ended in September.
“LinkedIn delivered strong results in the third quarter, and recently announced several products focused on delivering increased member and customer value,” CEO Jeff Weiner said in a statement. “Our commitment to investing in our long-term roadmap continues to lay the foundation for future growth of the company.”
Carrying the company during the third quarter was strong growth from its Talent Solutions product, which recruiters use to find qualified candidates. That product saw a 46 percent year-to-year increase and raked in $502 million in revenue for the quarter. Additionally, LinkedIn announced that mobile is growing at "double the rate of overall member activity" and now accounts for 55 percent of the social network's total traffic.
"LinkedIn is firing on all cylinders right now as they are the clear leader in the business networking/social media space," said Matthew Tuttle, portfolio manager at Tuttle Tactical Management. "Anyone around the world who is serious about business networking, uses LinkedIn. That's why they are able to dominate this very lucrative space and that's why they are able to offer premium products and actually charge their members to use their site which bodes well for their bottom line."
Aside from its Talent Solutions product, LinkedIn also saw healthy growth out of its Premium Subcriptions, which contributed $138 million in revenue, up 21 percent year-to-year. Phil Davis, CEO of Philstockworld.com, attributes this growth to a healthy U.S. economy. "Jobs coming back are also a huge help for them as people buy their Premium Subscriptions to network into better jobs and make top-level connections," Davis said.
LinkedIn also announced that Lynda.com, an online learning company that the social network purchased earlier this year for $1.5 billion, is now contributing to the bottomline. Lynda.com brought in $41 million in revenue for the period, its first full quarter since being acquired.
"While hiring continues to be very strong for LinkedIn, the idea of having LinkedIn be a place to learn new skills seems like it's going to be the next great frontier for the social network to continue being an important piece of how we spend our time," said Johnny Won, founder of Hyperstop, a consultancy firm.
In his remarks, CEO Weiner also spoke about LinkedIn's improved Messaging service, which rolled out in early September, saying that the revamped feature has already given a double-digit percentage boost to messages being sent among LinkedIn users.
“The new messaging platform shows LinkedIn continues to think and rethink its feature set and options for user engagement," said James Gellert, CEO of Rapid Ratings, a research and analytics firm. "The prior mail process was a bit clunky, and undoubtedly LinkedIn is shooting to hold users within its walls as long as possible. As LinkedIn continues to make strides into mobile, lightweight messaging is key."
Topping things off, LinkedIn raised its revenue forecast for the full year 2015 from $2.94 billion, as it said in its second quarter earnings, to between $2.975 billion and $2.98 billion. That's ahead of the $2.95 billion analysts were expecting.
“Investors have got to be most pleased because LinkedIn nailed what seems to be the key to the Q3 Big Tech earnings season: guidance," said Kyle Woodley, managing editor at InvestorPlace.com. "Q4 and full-year revenue and earnings projections alike glided past expectations. That’ll have far more effect on whether Friday’s gains stick than the (admittedly impressive) Q3 beats.”
Among the few concerns from LinkedIn's results were that the company continues to lose money, posting a net loss of $41 million for the period. For now, investors are not paying much attention to this detail as the company continues to grow, but it could become a problem down the line.
"LinkedIn is spending money to make it," Woodley said. "Sales and marketing, product development, all of its costs are heading higher. You can brush it off and say, 'Hey, LinkedIn is seeing results,' but the swing to operational losses isn’t exactly a sustainable trend.”