Facebook ad revenue tops $16.6 billion, driven by Instagram, Stories

07 February, 2019, 12:55 | Author: Gerard Cortez
  • Facebook CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg.                  Getty Images

The bulls were clearly enthusiastic about Facebook's fourth quarter beat, but the stock remains more than 20% below its 52-week high.

Despite a tumultuous year marked by data breach, privacy policy disputes and heavy scrutiny from federal regulator and lawmakers, Facebook's Q4 earnings increased 30 percent year-on-year from 12.97 billion dollars in the same period of 2017, beating Wall Street's expectations of 16.39 billion dollars in revenue.

Investment analysts at Piper Jaffray Companies lowered their Q1 2019 earnings estimates for shares of Facebook in a research report issued on Thursday, January 31st. Monthly active users were also up 9 percent and by 49 million from Q3, to 2.32 billion at year-end. The social networking company reported $2.38 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts' consensus estimates of $2.18 by $0.20.

At the time the report stated that Mark Zuckerburg was personally involved in the project and was pushing for its completion.

The company faces demographic challenges as younger users shift to other platforms, seeing Facebook as less cool than it once was.

For more information, you can read Zuckerberg's full statement here. Also, CFO David M. Wehner sold 4,761 shares of the firm's stock in a transaction on Friday, November 16th.

Facebook executives warned that expenses this year are expected to soar 40 to 50 per cent as it continues to invest in data centers, new products, and security. He said the move is "a 2020 thing or beyond".

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"The internet is a massive force for change, and we are at the center of a lot of the debates that brings", Zuckerberg said.

Leo Sun owns shares of Facebook. The company also seeks to grow the service as a standalone platform - not just something that Facebook users access through their news feeds.

As it approaches its 15th anniversary, Facebook has been able to keep revenue momentum thanks to its unique advertising model that allows marketers to reach specific segments of users. In countries where WhatsApp is dominant, for example, being able to message a Facebook Marketplace seller via WhatsApp instead of Messenger might be more convenient.

The Stories format is used by about 2 million advertisers out of Facebook's total 7 million active advertisers, and the company said it would add more features to make it easier for advertisers to adapt their campaigns.

As the number of ad placement options grows, it's getting more complicated for marketers to target audiences across Facebook's properties.

One analyst cautioned the risk to Facebook's stock may be further in the future, when European regulators get more deeply involved in their privacy probes.

As Facebook shifts its focus away from clickbait to emphasize "meaningful" interactions and fights a seemingly never-ending cycle of bad press, it's less clear what engagement with the main Facebook app looks like.

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