Investment manager BlackRock Inc. ($NYSE:BLK) hit a home run at its earnings call this morning. It beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.67, landing at $8.34 per share, and you can read all about its fourth-quarter here. But when researching BlackRock's alternative data, we found that the standard datapoints all made sense for why it's doing so well. What we didn't expect to find is that BlackRock has been straight up killing it over on Facebook for years.

Over five years, they've collected quite a lot of social media traffic and word of mouth. That 45-degree angle blue line is really an 808% increase in Facebook likes, with a few hundred extra hits on the 'Talking About' count to boot. It could be from solid work online consistently over the course of months, just hard work, or it could be from people's inherent interest in ESG. We think it's the former, and will give credit to BlackRock on this one.

And on Twitter it's even bigger, sporting an 89% increase over the same window of time. A lot of people want to know what's going on with the firm, and more importantly, with their money.

As for the earnings call, here is a better explanation of why quarter over quarter the company is doing so well. Stock is back up after a bit of a tumble, and the total headcount has only gone up to the tune of 79%. And the odd thing is hiring is slightly down over the last few months, too. All in all, BlackRock is in a really rock-solid place, pun intended. 

About the Data: 

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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