Well we've reached the end of July, which means all the companies have reported their Q2 earnings. We thought it would be interesting to take a look at some social media related stocks, and see how they've performed in the last 12 months (8/1/13 - 7/31/14).
Let's start with the ones we all know and that need no introduction: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google (for Google Plus and YouTube.)
Those who doubted Zuckerburg were punished by the market. FB stock is up 248% over 2 years and 94% over the last 12 months.
Unfortunately our 140 character friends did not have the same success. The stock is flat over a 12 month period, but with ups and downs so you might have made or lost a lot of money depending on when you got in and out.
It's been a solid performer for years, but ran into some problems this year. If you got in 2 years ago, you are still up 88%, but if you bought 12 months ago, you're down by 15%. Hopefully you didn't get out at the floor in May.
Even though most of Google's revenue comes from AdSense, it's worth including here because of YouTube and Google+. It's had a pretty good 12 month run, up 28%, but has been pretty flat since the beginning of 2014.
Foreign Social Media Companies
It's easy for Americans to forget there's a whole world out there, with social networks catering to gigantic populations. Here are a couple of companies you can consider investing in.
This Chinese holding company provides online games, community value-added services, and applications across various Internet and mobile platforms, such as QQ Instant Messenger, WeChat, QQ.com, QQ Games, Qzone, 3g.QQ.com, SoSo, PaiPai, and Tenpay. This stock is cheap enough to get into, and has provided a stellar 72% return in the last 12 months.
Sina.com is less of a pure social media play. It's described as "An online brand advertising portal that provides region-focused format and content, including multimedia news, sporting events news, automobile-related news, business news coverage and personal finance columns, entertainment news and events, technology updates, digital products reviews, luxury goods and services, collectibles, and video products, as well as an interactive platform for fashion-conscious users to share comments and ideas on health, cosmetics, and beauty topics." Like some U.S. media companies, it's struggled over the last year, down 34%.
They want to be the Facebook of China, and are described as "A social networking Website that enables its users to communicate and stay connected with their friends, classmates, family members, and co-workers; 56.com is a video service that allows its users to upload, view, and share user generated content videos." Unfortunately, it hasn't seen Facebook's returns, and is down about 17% for the year.
Other Large Tech
The rest of the companies we looked at are large enough to play an important role in social media, but do not fall directly into the category of social network.
It's everyone's favorite company to adore. And if you bought $5,000 in Apple stock a year ago, your 46% gain would have covered the cost of your new Macbook Air, iPhone and iPad.
It was a busy year in Redmond, and I hope you took advantage of all the positive change. If you did, you're up a healthy 36%.
Well, they've been busy, buying Tumblr and anything else that seems for sale. But it could be said that the most profitable part of the company is their investment in Alibaba. The market doesn't seem to quite know how to value the company now. After a run up from 28 to 40 from September to January, it's jumped back and forth between 33 and 39 since then. If you got in a year ago, you are up 28%. if you got in at some other time, you could be up or down.
We can't forget everyone's favorite review site. So how does the market rate Yelp? I guess you could say it gets 4 stars, up 30% for the year. However, it was up at 5 stars in March before the stock plummeted from about 95 to 52 over the course of 2 months.. It's rebounded since, sitting around 66. But it's been a wild ride for anyone whose held it a long time.
And finally, AOL. What list of online stocks would be complete without the venerable grandfather who has seen booms, busts and everything in between. People forget that at one time AOL basically was the internet for millions of people. The Facebook generation may find AOL irrelevant, but it's still a company with a $3.1 Billion Market Cap and $2.36 Billion in Revenue. After watching it bottom out below $34 in October 2013, some of you might have taken some money off the table when it rebounded up above $50 in January. The rest of you may have watched that spike and were biting your nails when it fell back down to $35 in May. If you did nothing, you broke even except for the cost of the antacid and heart pills. At least you didn't lose money.