Big Revenues, Loyal Users Give Facebook a Lot to Smile About
The last of the big tech companies just reported earnings. And the biggest surprise was … there were no surprises.
Facebook (FB) had another blowout quarter. Mark Zuckerberg’s social media company continues to monetize its platforms, while offering a free service to its loyal customers.
Boy, are they ever loyal. Not only do they know it, but they have no plans to go anywhere else. That’s because there’s nothing like it.
They don’t care that pundits and politicians blame the company for almost everything that’s wrong with popular culture. This distaste is having no impact whatsoever on Facebook’s business.
And that’s because of its platform.
In the three years after the Cambridge Analytica scandal saw users inappropriately targeted for political misinformation campaigns, Facebook has faced a constant stream of bad press.
And more recently, the social media giant has come under scrutiny for its policy to allow political hopefuls to post without factchecking. In light of Facebook’s 2016 “fake news” scandal, this was a bold and polarizing decision.
Especially now that the other major social media network, Twitter (TWTR), has decided to ban political ads. Founder Jack Dorsey said he believes “political message reach should be earned, not bought.”
We’ve made the decision to stop all political advertising on Twitter globally. We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought. Why? A few reasons…🧵
— jack 🌍🌏🌎 (@jack) October 30, 2019
Zuckerberg telegraphed that he won’t be joining Dorsey’s ban, but he does support more transparency.
He has bigger things on his mind …
For Facebook, all this is in addition to the multi-state, bipartisan antitrust push to break up the company. Even as Mark Zuckerberg sat before a hostile House Financial Services Committee to defend Libra, Facebook’s cryptocurrency, he fielded questions left and right about broader anti-trust concerns.
Despite all this, the Menlo Park, Calif., company continues to see growth. The first quarter of 2018 — which was the first reporting following the reveal of both the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the extent of foreign-supported fake media on the platform — showed revenues of $12 billion.
That number never faltered, growing consistently through 2018. The most recent quarter saw revenues reach $17.6 billion — a 47% increase from Q1 2018.
For the cynics who still believe that the public will turn away from Facebook — making their ad-based revenue supply dry up — there is a rude awakening waiting.
Revenues aren’t the only metric steadily rising for the platform.
Facebook’s base of unique monthly active users (MAU) at an 8% annual rate. There have been no hiccups. It reported Tuesday that MAUs now number 2.45 billion. One out of every three people on the planet logs in each month.
Monthly users across all its properties, including WhatsApp, Instagram and Facebook Messenger, reached a record 2.8 billion.
All this boils down to one simple fact:
Users are locked in, and that is a huge advantage.
The bottom line is platforms and ecosystems are more important than ever in this era. Facebook is proof that a platform — if big and powerful enough — can survive against unrelenting backlash.
It’s no surprise that the biggest technology companies are thriving.
All my research continues to tell me that the only direction Facebook is going in is up. Use periods of weakness to buy this unparalleled technology platform.
Jon D. Markman