Social commerce platform Pinterest (NYSE: PINS) reported results in line with analyst expectations in Q1 FY2022 quarter, with revenue up 18.4% year on year to $574.8 million. Pinterest made a GAAP loss of $5.28 million, improving on its loss of $21.6 million, in the same quarter last year.
Pinterest (PINS) Q1 FY2022 Highlights:
- Revenue: $574.8 million vs analyst estimates of $572.4 million (small beat)
- EPS (non-GAAP): $0.10 vs analyst estimates of $0.04 ($0.07 beat)
- Free cash flow of $206.4 million, roughly flat from previous quarter
- Gross Margin (GAAP): 74.5%, up from 72.4% same quarter last year
- Global Monthly Active Users: 433 million, down 45 million year on year
Created with the idea of virtually replacing paper catalogues, Pinterest (NYSE: PINS) is an online image and social discovery platform.
Pinterest is an online content and visual discovery platform that allows its users to create personalized collections of curated design or inspiration ideas while also providing recommendations based on a user’s personal interests. One part search engine and one part media platform, Pinterest is a hybrid of ecommerce and social media platform. For its users, most of which are female, Pinterest is a platform that offers discovery of items such as recipes, fashion, and home goods, and does so in an aspirational social media like use case.
For advertisers, Pinterest’s scale of hundreds of million monthly users is a valuable platform to target advertising where users innately are actively moving from ideation to purchasing, which is exactly where advertisers most like to insert themselves, when a potential customer is showing buying intent. As a bonus, unlike other social media platforms, advertising on Pinterest is content, a unique situation for advertisers.
Businesses must meet their customers where they are, which over the past decade has come to mean on social networks. In 2020, users spent over 2.5 hours a day on social networks, a figure that has increased every year since measurement began. As a result, businesses continue to shift their advertising and marketing dollars online.
Pinterest (NASDAQ: PINS) competes with fellow social media advertising platforms like Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL), Meta Platforms (NASDAQ:FB), Snapchat (NYSE: SNAP), and Twitter (NYSE: TWTR).
Pinterest's revenue growth over the last three years has been exceptional, averaging 51.1% annually. Pinterest may have benefited slightly from the initial impact of the pandemic bringing forward some sales, but growth rates have normalized since then.
This quarter, Pinterest reported a moderate 18.4% year on year revenue growth, in line with analysts' expectations.
Ahead of the earnings results the analysts covering the company were estimating sales to grow 22.4% over the next twelve months.
As a social network, Pinterest can generate revenue growth by increasing user numbers, and by charging more for the ads each user is exposed to.
Over the last two years the number of Pinterest's monthly active users, a key usage metric for the company, grew 17.1% annually to 433 million users. This is a solid growth for a consumer internet company.
Unfortunately, in Q1 the number of monthly active users decreased by 45 million, a 9.41% drop year on year.
Revenue Per User
Average revenue per user (ARPU) is a critical metric to track for every consumer internet product and for Pinterest it measures how much it makes off ads served to each user, proxy for how valuable advertisers find its audience and its ad-targeting capabilities.
Pinterest’s ARPU growth has been strong over the last two years, averaging 32.9%. The ability to increase price while still growing its user base shows the value of Pinterest’s platform, as its users continue to spend more than last year. This quarter, ARPU grew 30.7% year on year, reaching $1.32 for each of the monthly active users.
User Acquisition Efficiency
Consumer internet businesses like Pinterest grow by a combination of product virality, paid advertisement and occasional incentives, unlike enterprise products that are typically sold by sales teams.
Pinterest is efficient at acquiring new users, spending 33% of its gross profit on marketing over the last year. This level of sales and marketing spend efficiency is indicative of a relatively solid competitive positioning, which gives Pinterest the freedom to invest its resources into new growth initiatives.
Earnings & Free Cash Flow
Investors typically look at a company’s operating income to get a sense of how profitable a core business is. Adjusted EBITDA is the most common profitability metric for consumer internet companies, similar to operating profit, but removes various one time or non-cash expenses to give a more normalized measure of profitability.
Pinterest's EBITDA was $76.7 million this quarter, which translates to a 13.3% margin. Over the last twelve months the company has been amongst the handful of the most profitable consumer internet business with EBITDA margins of 28.9%.
If you follow StockStory for a while, you know that we put an emphasis on cash flow. Why, you ask? We believe that in the end cash is king, as you can't use accounting profits to pay the bills. Pinterest's free cash flow came in at $206.4 million in Q1, down 23.3% year on year.
Pinterest has generated $681 million in free cash flow over the last twelve months, an impressive 25.5% of revenues. This extremely high FCF margin is a result of Pinterest asset lite business model and strong competitive positioning, and provides it the option to return capital to shareholders while still having plenty of cash to invest in the business.
Key Takeaways from Pinterest's Q1 Results
With a market capitalization of $12.7 billion, more than $2.67 billion in cash and with free cash flow over the last twelve months being positive, the company is in a very strong position to invest in growth.
Pinterest reported results mostly in line with expectations. On the other hand, there was a decline in number of users. Overall, this quarter's results were not the best we've seen from Pinterest. The company currently trades at $20 per share.
Is Now The Time?
When considering Pinterest, investors should take into account its valuation and business qualities, as well as what happened in the latest quarter. There are a number of reasons why we think Pinterest is a great business. While we would expect growth rates to moderate from here, its revenue growth has been exceptional, over the last three years. On top of that, its impressive EBITDA margins show massive profitability of the business, and its strong free cash generation allows it to sustainably invest in growth initiatives.
The market is certainly expecting long term growth from Pinterest given its EV/EBITDA ratio based on the next twelve months of 15.8x is higher than many other consumer internet companies. Looking at the consumer internet landscape today, Pinterest's qualities as one of the best businesses really stand out and there's no doubt that it is a bit of a market darling. We don't mind paying a some premium for a premium business and would argue that it is often wise to hold on to quality businesses long term, even when expectations are high. but we do want to mention that there seems to be a lot optimism priced in at the moment.
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