LinkedIn Corp. (NYSE: LNKD) stock dipped as much as 12.5% in after-hours trading today (Thursday) after the company announced weaker 2014 guidance figures than most analysts expected.
LNKD is projecting revenue between $455 million and $460 million for the first quarter of 2014. That's well below analysts' estimates of $470 million.
The company's Q4 earnings beat the street at $0.39 per share, compared to consensus estimates of $0.38. Likewise, Q4 revenue of $447 million outpaced estimates of $437.8 million.
For the full year 2013, LNKD nailed analyst projections with revenue of $1.52 billion. That was up from a 2012 figure of $972 million.
The numbers met analysts' expectations, but growth was down. In the previous four quarters, LNKD had beaten earnings estimates by an average of 43.5%. So an earnings beat of a penny in Q4 is uninspiring.
That's not the only place growth was slowing however…
LinkedIn (NYSE: LNKD) Earnings: Where Investors Are Looking
One of the key figures to investors was user growth for LinkedIn.
The social media company reported a total user base of 277 million, up from 259 million in Q3. That 6.9% user growth is a drop from the previous quarter when LNKD reported 8.8% growth.
LinkedIn investors were hoping the company would report a user total closer to 282 million.
Growth also slowed in LinkedIn's "Talent Solutions" division, which is its largest revenue generator. LNKD reported revenue of $245.6 million – an increase of 53% compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. However, in the third quarter LinkedIn had reported year-over-year growth of 62%.
This was the first full quarter for LinkedIn's "Sponsored Updates" program, which according to the company "deliver[s] relevant content to members from marketers in the LinkedIn desktop and mobile feed."
As part of its "Marketing Solutions" division, sponsored updates accounted for 13% of the product segment's revenue. Investors will want to keep an eye on the growth of that figure moving forward.