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Social Bulldog’s Newsletter — Q3’21 Earnings Edition

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Happy Q4! As you may know, some of the biggest players in the e-commerce and performance marketing industries reported Q3 2021 earnings over the past two weeks. There is no doubt that the iOS 14.5 update has turned the digital advertising industry upside down this past quarter. It was important for us to carefully analyze how these players are communicating the impacts and future implications of this new environment. Below are quick recaps of each Q3 earnings call with some Social Bulldog insight thrown in. As Nicole, our Director of Business Development, put it, “If there was ever to be an earnings call drinking game, the word ‘headwinds’ will definitely have to be in there.”

Snap Q3 Earnings

Snap was projected to earn $1.1 billion in revenue during Q3. Though they saw a 23% YoY increase in daily active users, they came up short, earning $1.07 billion. During their earnings call, Snap attributed their 2.73% miss in earnings to Apple privacy policy changes, advertiser labor shortages, and supply chain interruptions. Furthermore, Snap didn’t sugarcoat that they expect Q4 to be rough on earnings as well.

Facebook Q3 Earnings

Facebook kicked off by letting us know that they are not Apple’s biggest fan at the moment. Thanks to a loss in conversion reporting and targeting accuracy, Facebook reported $29.01 billion in revenue instead of $29.45 billion as expected. But nevertheless, they persist. The social giant let listeners in on their plans to bounce back, which include more in-app shopping solutions and, most importantly, reporting improvements that are expected to resolve half of the current reporting loss by EOY.

Additional Q3 Facebook data highlights:

  • → Impressions increased 9% YoY
  • → Cost per impressions increased by 22% YoY
  • → Expecting $31.5 billion Q4 revenue

Twitter Q3 Earnings

Twitter experienced 23% growth YoY during Q3 but missed earnings by 0.3% ($1.284 billion vs $1.285 billion). As a platform, Twitter served as the hub for Summer Olympics news and communication and thus, Summer Olympics ad dollars. Unlike Snap and Facebook, Twitter told their listeners that it is too early to understand the full impact of iOS 14.5 but that it has not been as severe as expected. Social Bulldog speculates that this is due to a large amount of Olympic brand dollars and without that edge, Twitter may start feeling the burn this quarter.

Shopify Q3 Earnings

Two words that Shopify removed from their vocabulary before their Q3 earnings call: “Facebook” and “Apple”. Shopify missed estimates by 4.4% ($1.1 billion vs $1.15 billion) and attributed soft revenue numbers to macroeconomic factors such as the wide release of COVID vaccines and the recovery of brick and mortar stores. They claimed these types of conditions will lead to slower revenue growth in Q4 and 2022 as well.


It was a difficult quarter for e-commerce and performance marketing. While changes to iOS 14 significantly impacted the industry as a whole, some parties mitigated the effects better than others. Shopify is correct, the macroeconomic landscape was drastically different than that of Q3 2020. Overall, we are looking forward to the improvements in reporting and targeting that Facebook plans to roll out. Until then, our current strategy proves to be the optimal way to run direct response ads on Facebook — simplification of ad sets, amplification of signal, and thoughtful testing of offers, creative and messaging.

We are looking forward to efficient times and reduced “headwinds” in November, December, and beyond!

The Social Bulldog team


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Snap Q3 21 Earnings Report
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Facebook Q3 21 Earnings Report
Facebook shares rise as investors focus on earnings beat and look past whistleblower document dump

Twitter Q3 21 Earnings Report
Twitter shares rise after company says Apple privacy changes had less of an impact than expected on third-quarter results

Shopify Q3 21 Earnings Report
Shopify’s Third-Quarter Results Eclipsed by Fourth-Quarter Fears

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