Archived entries for Instagram

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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Facebook’s Mobile Platform Race

As we previously discussed, in its fourth quarter earnings slides, Facebook for the first time provided color on mobile only user base growth since Q4 2011. Growth in mobile only monthly active users rose to 157 million in the fourth quarter. While the emphasis on mobile only users represents a shift in Facebook’s focus, it is important to remember that Facebook’s mobile only emphasis really started with its purchase of Instagram on April 12, 2012.

It is instructive to contrast the user base growth of both platforms. While Instagram has provided sporadic updates on its user base growth, and it is unclear whether Instagram has reported monthly active users or total registrations, the chart shows that Instagram has been growing quickly, notably without the benefit of Facebook’s network effect on Instagram’s user base growth until at least its acquisition by Facebook at month 18 in the chart.

Facebook (mobile only) and Instagram User Growth

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