Media Money with Julia Boorstin

Facebook earnings: Inside its stock roller-coaster ride

Daniel Acker | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook's earnings results and conference call commentary sent its stock and investors on a roller-coaster ride.

The shares initially jumped more than 16 percent on better-than-expected results, particularly in mobile. They then gave up those gains and turned negative after the bell, when CFO David Ebersman admitted that there's something to concerns that Facebook is losing its cool factor with teens and that daily activity among younger teens has declined.

(Did Facebook flub how it presented this data point, without context? It was not clear that he was referring only to young teens in the US, which comprises about a tenth of Facebook's overall 1.2 billion user base, and that he was not including Instagram, just Facebook.

If there were a similar decline overseas Facebook would have had to disclose that. Declining use among youngest teens—13 and 14 year-olds—means usage among 15-19 year-olds must have increased in order for total teen usage to have held steady.)

Regardless of the comments that spooked the Street, the company's results were strong.

The focus on mobile that CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg have stressed is paying off: Mobile now represents 49 percent of the company's advertising revenue of $881 million. The percentage growth is striking: up from 41 percent in the second quarter, 30 percent in the first and 14 percent a year ago.

(Read more: Facebook marketing useless, report says)

This continued growth toward a mobile-first company explains why the stock surged even after gaining 50 percent since its last earnings report.

But what about its dramatic decline after the close?

Ebersman said "youth usage among U.S. teens was stable overall from Q2 to Q3, but we did see a decrease in daily users among younger teens." Facebook didn't break out the age range he referred to and said it's not concerned about such "granular" data.

Related Tags