FYI... LinkedIn has managed to meet or beat on every earnings since going public in May 2011, one of the reasons that CEO Jeff Weiner was named the Business Journal's Executive of the Year last month.
Weiner and his team at the MountainView-based social network for professionals (NASDAQ:LNKD) are masters at managing Wall Street expectations, so don't be surprised if they do it again when they post fourth quarter results on Thursday.
And don't be surprised if it tops the expected adjusted earnings jump of about 58 percent to 19 cents per share on a 67 percent leap in revenue to $280 million.
But here are some other things to watch in today's report and analyst call afterwards:
— International revenue growth: LinkedIn's international users make up 63 percent of its total membership yet it only gets about 36 percent of revenue from outside the U.S. Analysts are watching for improvement there.
— Job postings: This remains the bread and butter of LinkedIn's revenue stream. Analysts estimate that LinkedIn will earn report about $240 million in revenue from job postings for the full year, with annual job postings at around 1.6 million. Anything above or below that could move the stock.
— Sales Navigator: After the last quarter's earnings report, the first questions out of analysts' mouths concerned how LinkedIn is doing with the products it aims at generating sales leads, which many believe could eclipse its recruiting products. Expect a lot of focus on that again this time around.
— Sales and marketing costs: To grow overseas and with Sales Navigator, LinkedIn has been stepping up its sales efforts. So this is a line in the earnings that people will be focused on. It is also one of the levers that Weiner can pull to ensure another quarterly earnings beat.
— Outlook: As always, all eyes will be on what the company projects for the current quarter and beyond. Wall Street currently expects adjusted earnings of 24 cents a share on revenue that will top$300 million for the first time.