Archived entries for advertising

Shifting to Mobile*

With its Q1 2014 earnings, Facebook demonstrated its continued structural shift to a mobile company. The company’s mobile active users for the first time crossed the 1B mark. Mobile active users are also growing faster than any other user base segment. This user base shift is reflected in Facebook’s changing revenue composition, bearing out the company’s past commitment to transition to a mobile-first company.1

Facebook’s user base now sits just below 1.28B MAUs (monthly active users). When we visualize Facebook’s usage composition we can see that its mobile user base is on track to reach or exceed its current total user base. We can also see that mobile-only usage is growing quickly, increasing 15% sequentially. We can conclude that Facebook is increasingly hired as a mobile platform.2 It is unsurprising, then, that Facebook’s revenue composition reflects this shift.

Facebook's usage composition: monthly active users (desktop + mobile), daily active users (desktop + mobile), mobile monthly active users, mobile-only monthly active users, Instagram, WhatsApp

Facebook saw $2.5B in revenue in the first quarter, a 72% year-over-year increase. The company’s payments business saw only a modest year-over-year increase.3 The bulk of its revenue growth accrued to its advertising business. And it is here that we see the consequence of the shift in Facebook’s user base composition. In the first quarter, Facebook’s mobile ad revenue was 59% of its total ad revenue, up from 30% over the year-ago quarter.

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The Rise of Facebook’s Mobile Advertising Business

In the second quarter Facebook continued its trend of growing mobile ad revenue to a larger share of its total advertising revenue. Although this result is in line with our conclusions based on Facebook’s performance in the first quarter, the significant beat on estimates has resulted in the stock price rising to pre-IPO levels. In order to understand how Facebook has continued to grow mobile ad revenue, we need to reassess its advertising business.

We determined that in the first quarter increases in advertisements delivered and price paid per ad resulted primarily from News Feed ads on Facebook’s desktop product, and to a lesser extent on its mobile products. We also observed increases in user engagement in the quarter. Finally, Facebook’s decision to lower the market reserve price increased market supply for ads on the network essentially by reducing the input costs for advertisers.

Revenue in the second quarter remains highest in North America and Europe; however, the growth in Facebook’s emerging market regions continues to outpace the established markets. The North America region saw $721 million in revenue, an increase of 51% over the year ago quarter. Europe region’s revenue grew from $294 to $479 million, a 53% year-over-year increase. In Asia and rest of world revenue essentially doubled over the year ago quarter.1

Facebook's quarterly advertising revenue by region

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Slowing Growth in Facebook’s Mature Regions

In our earlier analyses, we observed that Facebook’s user base growth in North America region was outpaced by Facebook’s other regions, especially its emerging market regions Asia and rest of world. In fact, Facebook’s S-1 filing revealed to an extent that this was occurring. Based on the latest quarterly data, we can see that Facebook’s emerging market regions continue to outgrow its established markets on a sequential basis.

Facebook provides data about monthly active users (MAUs) and daily active users (DAUs). MAU data show that Facebook’s growth in North America has slowed substantially relative to growth in its other markets. At a reported 195 million monthly active users, Facebook continues to edge closer to market saturation in North America. As we can see, the growth rate has slowed to between 1% and 2% for the past three quarters.1

Facebook's monthly active users per region

According to its 10-Q, Europe region includes all users from Russia and Turkey. Europe region is therefore larger than North America; however, it shows simliar user base growth deceleration. According to Facebook, Europe region accounted for 269 million monthly active users. The region is still growing slightly faster than North America, showing 3% sequential growth. However, Europe region shows a maturation trend simliar to North America.

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Assessing Facebook’s Advertising Business

As we have come to expect, advertising continues to comprise the majority of Facebook’s revenue. According to the company’s 10-Q filing, advertising accounted for about 86% of Facebook’s revenue in the quarter. Its filings also continue to illustrate the extent to which seasonality affects the company’s advertising revenue. We can also observed the effect of Facebook’s mobile monetization effort, which resulted in about 43% revenue growth over the year ago quarter.1

Facebook generates its advertising revenue from delivery of click-based advertisements on its website and mobile products. According to its 10-Q filing, Facebook’s advertising revenue increased from $872 million in Q1 2012 to $1.245 billion in Q1 2013, a 43% increase in revenue. As the company notes, this was due to a 39% increase in the number of ads delivered to users, and a 3% increase in the average price per ad paid by advertisers over the year ago quarter.

Facebook's quarterly advertising revenue

We can attribute these increases in ads delivered and price paid per ad primarily to the introduction of News Feed advertisements on Facebook’s desktop product, and later on its mobile products. Concurrently, increases in monthly and daily user engagement allowed the company to deliver more ads to users in the quarter. Finally, Facebook’s decision to lower the market reserve price increased the number of click-based advertisements hired on the network.

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Continuance - Facebook Analysis by . @jonmilani. Copyright © 2017. All rights reserved. Hosted by (mt) Media Temple.