LinkedIn Posts Growth Where It Matters Most


Given LinkedIn's meteoric valuation, my ultimate concern when the company reported earnings on Aug. 1 was its growth trajectory. Fortunately, LinkedIn delivered. Its growth story looks still looks compelling.

Dissecting LinkedIn's Growth
Though accelerating growth rates in revenue would have been awesome to see, I wasn't expecting it -- and analysts weren't, either. As expected, revenue growth rates did slow:

Source: LinkedIn second quarter 2013 earnings deck slides.

Is this a sign that LinkedIn's growth days will soon come to an end? Not at all.

If revenue and earnings were all investors analyzed, it would be difficult to know when the growth could begin to taper off at steeper rates. Fortunately, underlying metrics can help us paint a much clearer picture of LinkedIn's growth story.

LinkedIn's cumulative membership grew 37%, year over year, to more than 238 million. Not only is that an acceleration in year-over-year growth rates from the company's first quarter, but its 9% sequential growth marks the first acceleration in sequential membership growth rates since the quarter following its IPO in 2011.

Though accelerating membership growth alone is enough for me to feel comfortable in the stock's growth story, accelerating growth rates didn't end there. Unique visitors, an excellent indicator of brand awareness, grew nicely too -- again showing accelerating growth rates during the quarter.

LinkedIn Unique Visitors Growth (YOY)

Q4 2012

Q1 2013

Q2 2013





Including mobile




Source: Q2 selected company metrics and financials. First and second quarter earnings call transcripts. Desktop data is provided by ComScore and cited by LinkedIn. Data including mobile is based on LinkedIn's internal metrics.

Page views, a metric LinkedIn management uses to track member engagement, accelerated, too. Based on ComScore's data for LinkedIn, desktop page view growth accelerated from last quarter's year-over-year growth rate of 18% to this quarter's growth rate of 25%. LinkedIn's internal metrics, which include mobile, showed an acceleration in already impressive year-over-year growth rates from 63% last quarter to 69% this quarter.

Don't sell LinkedIn after this run-up
Based on my checks, LinkedIn is still firing on all cylinders. Though I'm not willing to attempt to persuade investors to set their hard-earned money aside to invest in this stock, I definitely don't think it's a sell for current shareholders -- even after the stock soared 10% on the company's better-than-expected results.

Overall, LinkedIn's second-quarter results served as further evidence of the company's strong growth story.

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Fool contributor Daniel Sparks has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends LinkedIn. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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