Facebook Now up to 1.9 Billion Users, Sees Expansion in Asia Pacific Market

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Facebook Now up to 1.9 Billion Users, Sees Expansion in Asia Pacific Market

Facebook has released its Q1 2017 results, and The Social Network has a lot to celebrate.
First off, on active users – FB is ever-close to the two billion user milestone, with monthly active users (MAUs) rising 17% YoY – 1.94 billion.

That is another amazing result for Zuck and Co. – Facebook’s added another 76 million new users since last earnings result, in which they would already added an amazing 3.91% more users on preceding status.
The growth of FB is unprecedented, so much so that it is easy to overlook how significant that expansion is. Pinterest, for instance, only recently hit 175 million total MAU, Instagram just reached 700 million & Twitter celebrated adding nine million more MAU in most recent report. Each platform has its own reasons and situations to take into account, but FB’s comparative, consistent performance in this regard is amazing – even moreso when you take into account daily active user count, which increased 18% YoY.

An interesting addition this time round in FB’s results is the annotation along the bottom, displaying the percentage of daily & monthly active users. This shows that just as FB continues to grow, the amount of usage is moving in-step – people are not simply signing up for the sake of it, the number of daily users has remained steady as the total MAU has increased.
Looking at the two charts, FB’s seen the most growth in the Asia-Pacific region, with double the amount of MAU growth over the next nearest region – and more than double in DAU figures. FB’s been putting more focus on areas of lower connectivity, including the expanded availability of Facebook Lite & the introduction of a lower data version of Instagram, which they announced at their recent F8 conference.
The latter is important in considering the competition from Snapchat – Snap Inc. has solely focused on developed markets, which has given FB an opportunity to reach more users with their similar features, giving first mover advantage despite copying Snapchat’s tools.
In the accompanying earnings call, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that Snapchat Stories clone within WhatsApp, their re-vamp of WhatsApp Status, is being used by more than 175 million users every day, which is Snapchat’s daily usage. WhatsApp’s not as widely used in western markets, but as you could see from this chart (from 2015), it is hugely popular in other regions where Snapchat is not present.

The success of WhatsApp Status further justifies FB’s ‘conquer by copying’ efforts, and while Zuckerberg did not provide any oversight into Facebook Stories use, given the relative take up of both Instagram Stories and WhatsApp Status, I would not be so quick to write the option off just yet.
Zuckerberg noted that while they were a bit behind the visual social trend, he believes they are now in the drivers’ seat, in terms of technology & advancement, pointing to the recent launch of their new Camera Effects Platform to open up the chances of augmented reality to more developers. Zuckerberg also noted that AR could facilitate new ad selections in future, including overlays on real world objects & scenes, something Snap Inc. has also been working on for some times.

Facebook has previously warned of a “meaningful slowdown” in revenue development as it reaches the limit of ad content it could show in the News Feed, but this company has laid the groundwork for significant future revenue expansion from Instagram ads & monetizing video content, which should boost momentum moving forward.
Worth noting – mobile advertising revenue represented 85% of FB ad revenue for the quarter of 2017, up from 82% in the first quarter of 2016.
While overall revenue was down on the previous quarter, it is worth highlighting that costs increased, with ‘Research and Development’ seeing a significant boost in expenditure.

TechCrunch also notes that FB had to pay $300 million to Zenimax after losing a lawsuit about stolen property relating to Oculus.
Despite the various challenges, FB remains in good shape, and the ongoing user growth – which included them adding 3 million new users in the North American market – should quell any potential concerns. FB has refined their approach to product developments & roll-outs, and despite adding a range of tools in the quarter (including Facebook Stories), and battling concerns about fake news, they have managed to bring more people into the fold – and a lot more people at that.
At nearly 2 billion users, Facebook’s influence and role within our interactive process is undeniable. And it is still growing, it’s still getting bigger, and more people are using their apps each day.

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