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Facebook Investors Are Ready for the Instagram Numbers

The social network has never broken out revenue for its visual counterpart. Is this the quarter?

Instagram / Matt Cutshall

Facebook reports earnings on Wednesday, and investors expect things to go smoothly. Again.

There is one important part of the business that could make waves, though: Instagram. Facebook has never broken out Instagram revenue — and it’s unclear if it will start this quarter — but the standalone photo-sharing app has more than 400 million users now and Instagram advertisers now have many of the same targeting capabilities that they get on Facebook.

The result is what many believe will be a very sizable business for the social network moving forward. Analyst firm MoffettNathanson believes Instagram will bring in $1.8 billion in annual revenue in the next two or three years. SunTrust analyst Robert Peck agrees. He wrote in his pre-earnings report that he believes Instagram’s annual revenue will be greater than $2 billion by 2017.

That’s a lot of money considering Facebook isn’t saying much about the business. But investors are definitely interested, and any news on that front would definitely be, well, news. Otherwise, you can expect a lot of mobile, a lot of video and, of course, a lot of users.

The social network has consistently appeased investors of late with significant quarter-over-quarter revenue and growth results. This quarter, analysts believe growth will slow ever so slightly (this happens with big numbers, after all), but not enough that anyone seems worried. Analysts are looking for profits of 52 cents per share on $4.37 billion in revenue for Q3, growth of just over 36 percent over last year.

Facebook’s Q2 earnings showed revenue growth of just over 37 percent, so you can see where the “deceleration” comes into play.

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