I heard a TV journalist on the weekend casually start a question: ‘with social media sites like Facebook declining…”
Now I’m not sure what measures she was using to get to that (if any) but nothing I’m seeing suggests that Facebook is in decline. From a business point of view, Facebook is looking very healthy.
First Quarter 2014 Operational Highlights
- Daily active users (DAUs) were 802 million on average for March 2014, an increase of 21% year-over-year.
- Mobile DAUs were 609 million on average for March 2014, an increase of 43% year-over-year.
- Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.28 billion as of March 31, 2014, an increase of 15% year-over-year.
- Mobile MAUs were 1.01 billion as of March 31, 2014, an increase of 34% year-over-year.
First Quarter 2014 Financial Highlights
Revenue - Revenue for the first quarter of 2014 totaled $2.50 billion, an increase of 72%, compared with $1.46 billion in the first quarter of 2013.
- Revenue from advertising was $2.27 billion, an 82% increase from the same quarter last year.
- Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 59% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2014, up from approximately 30% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2013.
- Payments and other fees revenue was $237 million for the first quarter of 2014.
Right so they have lots of people but are they making money off them? Well, yes they’re starting to. You just have to look at Mary Meeker’s State of the Internet analysis to see that.
The figure that Mark Zuckerberg gets most excited about is the highly coveted 'daily visits' which sits around 60%. That’s really high and hasn’t seen the declines that even Facebook predicted once the platform reached a critical mass of users. By getting in to your phone and your daily habits, Facebook has a front-door to the social web that nobody else does.
Recent acquisitions WhatsApp and Instagram are both in strong growth phases and are providing the younger audiences that Facebook desktop ran the risk of missing as pure mobile products develop.
Installs of their own app give Facebook the most reach of any mobile product in the US. Mobile app install ads have been a real winner for Facebook too with mobile app developers using Facebook as way to target and deliver their product in the Google Play or Apple App stores.
So what’s this talk of declining?
Brands are getting less organic engagement on their brand pages. So you’ll see posts like this that make you think Facebook isn’t worth your brand’s effort. Quality content working together with paid ads is probably the direction you should be looking (for both Facebook and Google content).
It’s the pay to play model that we’ve talked about before: if you want to target high quality audiences with your content, then you have to pay the same way that you pay for TV ads or billboard locations or the front page of the newspaper.
Newsfeed ads have been very successful for the company and they are now moving away from those crappy little right hand side ads (which Zuckerberg describes as ‘legacy ads’) to a new design that look a lot more like a standard IAB ad unit, medium rectangle type thing.
The new battleground is of course, mobile and Facebook is loving on its developers and trying to make things easier for them to develop for their platform by offering services like Parse that make the mobile development environment more simple and easier to monetise. App developers make money, consumers get better products and experiences and ultimately, Facebook makes money and continues to grow. That’s the plan and Austin Carr has written and superb article about it over here you must, must, must read -that’s three musts.
The ad products are changing all the time and it’s really important that you dig a bit deeper and keep open minded about what you can achieve on different platforms. A campaign that didn’t work 12 months ago might work now. Instagram might be ripe for another look. You might need to take a look at this ‘over indexing of print’ figure and think ‘hmmm, maybe we are over indexed for print’.
Because if the only real reason is that 1. you have personal feelpinions and you just don't like Facebook 2. it's scary and you can't keep up and understand these new products, well then it's time to look at some quality data and learn for yourself and make some big girl decisions instead of agreeing with people on the television who might not know what they're talking about.