By Adam Fraser
Another quarter, another powerful set of results from the world’s biggest social network.
As the user numbers get higher the % growth rate inevitably plateaus. While absolute users continue to grow at a healthy rate, with 1.6 billion users and counting, at some point the world population actually becomes a constraint to growth!
If you want the gory detail, you can find the detailed financials, investor presentation and management conference call. For those without the time to digest all of this, here are 10 key soundbites from the results:
- Monthly active users have reached 1.591bn from 1.545bn last quarter (3.0% growth) and 1.393bn a year earlier (14.2% growth)
- Daily active users hit 1.038bn from 1.007bn last quarter (3.1% growth) and 890m a year earlier (16.6% growth)
- Over 90% of MAUs and DAUs accessed Facebook via a mobile appliance with 52% of MAUs exclusively using a mobile
- Instagram hit 400m MAUs in September 2015 and Whatsapp has just hit 1bn MAUs
- Revenue grew at an astonishing rate. Total revenue was $5.8bn versus $4.5bn in Q3 (29.8% growth) and $3.8bn a year earlier (52.6% growth) – generating a net profit of $1.6bn and free cash flow of $2.1bn in the quarter
- Facebook has reasonably balanced global spread with 50% of revenue coming from USA and Canada
- Mobile ad revenue was 80% of total ad revenue (as a proxy, this was 69% a year ago and only 20% 3 years ago)
- Facebook ended the year with 12,700 employees and a cool $18.43bn in cash
- With the growing importance of video, Facebook is looking at a potential dedicated area for video only viewing (YouTube watch out).
- Some interesting random stats: 100m hours of video are watched daily on Facebook, over 1bn people used Facebook groups in a single month, there are more than 2.5m active advertisers on Facebook and 98 out of Facebook’s top 100 advertisers have also advertised on Instagram.
Wall Street liked what they saw driving the shares up by 14% on the day the results were released.
“2015 was a great year for Facebook. Our community continued to grow and our business is thriving,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, said in the company’s earnings release. Hard to disagree.
In the investor conference call, Zuckerberg confirmed he was happy with early sales of the Oculus Rift product which bodes well for future growth in an important area.
Strong user growth in Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger. Investment in long term initiatives. Growing revenue per user. Increased dominance in mobile ad spend. The scorecard continues to tick all boxes. Absent an unpredictable privacy related shock, its hard to see anything other than continued strength in 2016.