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Top 3 marketer takeaways from Facebook’s Q1 results

In the first quarter of 2019, Facebook’s revenue reached USD 15.1 billion, up 26 per cent year on year. Facebook daily active users reached 1.56 billion, up 8 per cent compared to last year, led by growth in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines. This represents approximately 66 per cent of the 2.38 billion monthly active users (MAU) in March. MAUs grew 179 million or eight per cent compared to last year.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook said, “We had a good quarter and our business and community continue to grow. We are focused on building out our privacy-focused vision for the future of social networking, and working collaboratively to address important issues around the internet.”

There are now around 2.7 billion people using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger each month, and more than 2.1 billion people are using at least one every day.

1) Facebook and Instagram Ads are increasingly popular

The total ad revenue for Q1 was USD 14.9 billion, up 26 per cent or 31 per cent on a constant currency basis. In terms of regional ad revenue growth, U.S. and Canada was strongest at 30 per cent, followed by Asia-Pacific at 28 per cent and Rest of World at 23 per cent.

Mobile ad revenue grew 30 per cent year-over-year to USD 13.9 billion, making up approximately 93 per cent of Facebook’s total ad revenue.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook said, “We had a strong start to the year. We had solid growth across all regions, and our revenue base continues to broaden as more businesses advertise with us. In Q1, our top 100 advertisers represented less than 20 per cent of our total ad revenue, which means our advertiser base is more diverse compared to the same period last year.”

2) Stories Ads are popular among marketers

In the earnings call, Mr Zuckerberg said, “We’re continuing to see fast adoption of Stories with each of our three Stories experiences – Facebook and Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp – having more than half a billion daily actives.”

The social media company now has three million advertisers using Stories Ads to reach customers across Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger.

Ms Sandberg said, “Facebook and Instagram Feed ads make up the bulk of our business today. We expect that to continue, but Stories are an increasingly important growth opportunity. We are helping advertisers keep up with the shift in how people are sharing, just as we did with mobile.”

In March 2019, Instagram also introduced Interactive Stories Ads globally. Speaking on the new format, Ms Sandberg explained, “People and businesses already use interactive features to start conversations in their Stories and now advertisers can use polling stickers to stand out and drive results. When Dunkin’ promoted its donut fries with an interactive poll in their Stories ads, more than one in five people, who saw the ad voted, which increased engagement and drove 20 per cent lower cost per video view.”

3) Facebook is looking into increasing transparency

It’s no secret that Facebook has run into issues regarding transparency when it comes to advertisements. The good news for marketers is that the social media platform is looking at ways to increase transparency not just for marketers but also users.

Ms Sandberg added, “Going forward, we will continue making investments to increase transparency, protect our platform from interference, and help keep people safe. We’re doing this, because it’s the right thing to do for people, and because it’s good for our business over the long-term. At the same time, we are focused on continuing to grow our business by helping advertisers grow theirs. We offer the unique ability for advertisers to reach the right person with the right message at the right time, and for people to see ads that are truly relevant to them. We do this in a privacy-focused way that enables millions of businesses around the world to grow and hire.”

Shubhi Tandon

Shubhi Tandon is the Assistant Editor at Digital Market Asia. Fascinated by the evolving digital media industry, she has focussed on tracking developments in the Asia Pacific market since 2014.