Facebook released its quarterly earning report today, and if you just look at the numbers, it appears the ‘Book is killing it. And it definitely is – these figures show how the social media powerhouse is making inroads on monetizing mobile, which is something people worried they couldn’t effectively do. There’s a reason why shares just jumped 20 percent. But a closer look at what these numbers mean reveals a slightly less rosy story.
First, the unequivocally excellent:
Mobile income revenue as a percentage of ad revenue is now 41 percent.
That’s a substantial 11 percent leap from last quarter, and it means Facebook is getting a whole lot better at mobile ads. This should thrill investors, since Facebook’s ability to monetize mobile has been a source of concern since before its IPO. It took a while to figure it out, but looking at this figure, it’s hard to keep haranguing the network for its perceived weakness in mobile revenue.
This is a huge improvement over Facebook’s first earnings call as a publicly traded company, when digital marketers pontificated about the supposed demise of Facebook unless it came up with a mobile phone. Well, it didn’t come up with a phone (and the closest thing to it, Facebook Home, is still kind of meh) but Facebook is more than managing in mobile. And it’s particularly impressive coming in after Google’s recent earnings report, which showed that the Internet behemoth continues to falter finding ways to monetize mobile ads. Perhaps Google can take a page out of Facebook’s playbook?
Seriously though, if this figure teaches us anything, it’s to cool it on starting a death watch on young companies when they don’t have everything figured out right away. Facebook was seriously lacking in mobile monetization for a while. Now it’s not. And it’s still frighteningly popular and turning a profit.
Monthly active users on mobile increased 51 percent to 819 million.
It’s a good time for Facebook to get mobile income revenue on lock down, since more users are choosing to access the site from their tablets and smartphones instead of desktops.
This massive jump to mobile from Facebook users is indicative of a wider digital shift. Even though desktop browsing will likely stay a common point of access for Internet users, people are choosing to access the w\Web and apps from their mobile devices with increasing frequency. White-hot dating app Tinder is only available for mobile, and CMO and co-founder Justin Mateen says the company has no plans to move to desktop. “I think we’re moving further and further away from computers. I think in 10 years a very small percentage of people will be using computers. I think it’s going to be all mobile,” he says. And while that’s a bold statement, the fact that there’s this kind of huge influx of mobile users on one of the world’s most popular websites lends Mateen’s theory some credence.
Revenue is up 53 percent, up to $1.81 billion from $1.18 billion last year.
This is unequivocally excellent because mo’ revenue does not equal mo’ problems. Mo’ revenue just equals mo’ Winkelvii tears.
It also means that whatever Facebook has been doing to get this bump isn’t going to stop – which means, you guessed it, the ads aren’t going anywhere, especially not the mobile ones!
But, as mentioned before, some of the numbers look like they’re better news for the company than they actually are. For instance, the increase in users.
Monthly active users overall increases 21 percent to 1.15 billion.
This obviously isn’t bad news, but as Tech Crunch pointed out, many of these new users are from Asia and developing markets, so the company doesn’t make as much money per user there as it would if there were suddenly a substantial influx of Canadian users who’d been holding out all this time. Of course, the company may find ways to increase the per capita money possibilities in these markets, but at the moment, these users don’t put dollar signs in Mark Zuckerberg’s eyes the same way a new group of North American users would. A new user in Asia bring in .75 cents, while a North American pulls a hefty $4.32, so there’s a big difference in how much a specific user is worth to Facebook.
Video for Instagram saw 5 million videos uploaded in the first 24 hours.
This stat makes it sound like video for Instagram is a big hit, but in reality, this just shows that people were curious about the new feature. It came at the right time, since it offered an intriguing alternative to Vine, Twitter’s looping-video app that had recently gained popularity.
How come Facebook didn’t note how many videos have been uploaded overall? I suspect there’s been a precipitous drop-off; at least in my own feed, videos petered out in favor of the tried-and-true still shots again after the first few days. Instagram’s video function was ushered in as a substantial new addition to the app, but it sure seems like it’s an ancillary feature rather than a core service.
Overall Facebook’s earnings report is a huge win for the company… although it underlines exactly how freakishly dependent many of us have become on the site for our daily fix of lightweight digital social interaction. During the call, Zuckerberg went into detail about just how addicted we are, noting that users logged 20 billion minutes a day on Facebook in June. 20 BILLION MINUTES IN ONE MONTH. 70 percent of users in Canada and the U.S. check the site every day because we all have raging Facebook FOMO and cannot stop ourselves.
So really, what you should take away from the Facebook earnings report is that even though people keep saying Facebook is losing its cool factor and going gently into that good night, Facebook is raging against the dying of the light and we are all hopelessly addicted to it. Facebook is “The X-Files” and we’re all socially anxious science fiction nerds from 1992. Facebook is MTV and we are Dire Straits. Facebook is a heavily glazed Easter ham and we are an emotionally fragile Paula Deen.
There is no escaping Facebook. Maybe it will escape us and morph into something else entirely over time, but with these numbers, the social network is going to keep on fighting the non-fight for platform prominence for quite some time.