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Facebook Adds 100 Million More Users, Reports 11% Revenue Growth Amid COVID-19

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facebook adds 100 million more users reports 11 revenue growth amid covid 19

Despite COVID-19, an advertiser boycott, and an appearance before US officials over possible antitrust violations. Even amid these varied distractions and impacts, Facebook has once again reported steady growth in its latest earnings report, with the platform now exceeding 3 billion users worldwide across its ‘family of apps’.

First off, on users – Facebook added another 100 million monthly active users in the Q2, taking it to 2.7b MAU. 

Facebook Q2 2020 User charts

Facebook’s MAU growth rate has accelerated in the last two quarters – which makes sense, given that more people are looking for distractions amid the COVID-19 lockdowns. But again, given the outside criticisms and concerns, which have also included broader debate around Facebook’s perceived lax efforts in removing hate speech, you might expect to see an impact on Facebook’s momentum.

Not so, according to these numbers. 

As you can see in the chart, Facebook continues to see the majority of its audience growth in the Asia-Pacific market, with India, in particular seeing significant take-up as the developing nation undergoes its own digital shift. Facebook recently made a significant step towards maximizing its opportunities in the region by purchasing a stake in Indian mobile provider Jio, through which it will look to build an eCommerce platform within the Indian market, which could, eventually, make Facebook the key platform for the nation’s billion-plus of citizens.

Worth noting, also, that Facebook, via Instagram, recently launched its TikTok-clone functionality ‘Reels’ in the Indian market, after the Indian Government banned TikTok due to conflicts with the Chinese regime. India was, up till then, TikTok’s second-biggest user market, with some 200 million active Indian users at the time of its removal. That will present another opportunity for Facebook to boost its regional growth.

In terms of daily actives, Facebook is now seeing 1.8b individual log-ins each day.

Facebook daily active users

As you can see from the lower listing, Facebook also continues to see high engagement, with 66% of its monthly active users logging on every day, which has been consistent for several quarters. 

The only nuance missing here is time spent – while many people do log onto Facebook regularly, what would be interesting to know is actual time spent, per user, on the platform. Facebook doesn’t release this info as a matter of course, but having that additional context would provide a more accurate view of Facebook usage. The view, among many tech analysts, is that while people do check-in to Facebook to see what family and friends have posted, they’re actually now spending more time in other apps instead. 

That additional detail could help to better align ad spend with actual usage – which, really, is probably why Facebook doesn’t release it.

In addition to this, Facebook has also notably crossed the 3b user threshold, at least in terms of usage across its entire ‘Family of Apps’ – i.e. combined, individual active users across Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

Facebook family of apps usage

It’s interesting to consider that, across the entire world, around 440 million users of Facebook’s other apps don’t access Facebook itself (2.7b MAU), and a lot of those, you would imagine, would be on WhatsApp, which is the dominant messaging platform in several major markets.

That means that Facebook still has significant opportunity to further monetize its other platforms, and reach unique users with more ad and business options. As yet, Facebook hasn’t been able to fully implement its monetization strategy for WhatsApp

In terms of revenue, Facebook saw an increase of 11%, bringing in $18b for the quarter.

Facebook Q2 2020 - revenue stats

Not bad, especially considering the slow down in ad spend due to COVID-19 and the current ads boycott, as noted. Of course, the impacts of that boycott won’t be evident till the next quarter, and Facebook has noted that it will see further impacts. It’ll be interesting to see exactly how significant those impacts end up being.

The company’s revenue growth, it’s worth noting, has slowed significantly, but overall, Facebook still beat analyst estimates. Shares in the company rose 8% on the release.

Looking ahead, Facebook says that it expects its third-quarter results to be largely in line with this report, though it does expect to see a slowdown in user growth. 

“More recently, we are seeing signs of normalization in user growth and engagement as shelter in-place measures have eased around the world, particularly in developed markets where Facebook’s penetration is higher. Looking forward, as shelter-in-place restrictions continue to ease, we expect the number of Facebook DAUs and MAUs to be flat or slightly down in most regions in the third quarter of 2020 compared to the second quarter of 2020.”

Facebook has seen ongoing user growth for some time, so it’ll be interesting to see the market response to a stalling in this respect, if indeed we do see such. 

Also interesting to note this chart:

Facebook Q2 2020 - revenue growth

Facebook’s ‘other’ revenue – i.e. revenue outside of advertising – continues to climb, which would largely be linked to the growth in sales of its Oculus VR devices and Portal smart speakers.

Back in April, Facebook reported that it was struggling to meet rising demand for Oculus headsets, while Portal sales have increased more than 10x during the global lockdowns. It’s still only a fraction of Facebook’s overall revenue pie, but both provide the company with not only one-off sales, but ongoing opportunities for connection, which could become more valuable over time.

The report reflects Facebook’s ongoing stability, which, despite the current protests, seems unlikely to be significantly impacted. While many big name Facebook advertisers have joined the current ad boycott, Facebook still has a large advertiser base – and while disrupting the company’s revenue flow may not have been the main aim of the protest action, it does underline Facebook’s sheer size and scope – which again, underlines the key emphasis of this week’s antitrust hearing.

An interesting point of note in this respect is that most of companies run by the tech CEOs who appeared before the House Judiciary Committee pushed back the release of their latest results till after the hearing. Facebook brought in $18b, while Amazon has taken in $88.9b for the most recent quarter, amid the pandemic, both beating analyst estimates. 

You can imagine that both results would not sit well amongst those considering their respective market dominance.

Either way you look at it, it’s an unfathomable amount of money flowing through each company, and definitely, there’s clear evidence that they use their size and scale to dominate their markets. Whether that will be reflected in the eventual findings of the House. we’ll have to wait and see.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Solar Flares Or Sabotage? Internet Theories On Today’s Massive Cell Phone Outage

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Solar Flares Or Sabotage? Internet Theories On Today's Massive Cell Phone Outage

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Massive cell phone outages across America are being reported today by customers of AT&T, Cricket Wireless, Verizon, T-Mobile, Consumer Cellular, Boost Mobile, US Cellular, and Straight Talk Wireless, according to data from Downdetector, an online platform that monitors connectivity. That story and more news you need to read today, inside.

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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

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Meta Expands Access to Instagram’s Creator Marketplace

Meta has announced that it’s finally expanding access to its Creator Marketplace tool, which will give more businesses the capacity to search for creators to work with on their Instagram campaigns.

Meta first launched its Creator Marketplace back in 2022, enabling U.S.-based brands to search and connect with relevant platform influencers based on a range of qualifiers, including focus topics, follower counts, location, etc.

And now, businesses in the following regions will also be able to access the tool:

  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • India
  • Brazil

In addition to this, Meta also says that Chinese export brands will also be invited to connect with onboarded creators in countries outside of China.

Which is interesting, considering Meta’s tenuous history with the CCP’s “Great Firewall”, but the deal here relates to Chinese businesses operating in regions outside of their homeland, which is somewhat separate to Meta’s internal dealings.

In addition to expanding access, Meta’s also rolling new machine learning-based recommendations within Creator Marketplace, which will use Instagram data to help brands more easily discover creators who are the best fit for their campaigns.

Instagram Creator Marketplace

As you can see in this example, the new recommendations will highlight accounts that have strong engagement rates in your niche, have mentioned your brand in the past, or have produced good results for similar businesses.

That could make it easier to find the right fit, or at the least, to give you more options to consider in your process.

Branded Content collaborations can be highly effective on IG, by using the established expertise and experience of creators who have already built a following in the app, and know what works, to boost your promotions.

By working with the right creators, with connection to your target audience, you can secure valuable endorsement within key communities, which can help to germinate your branding in the right communities.

Brands can check out Instagram’s creator marketplace in Meta Business Suite, with access coming to these new regions shortly.



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X Faces Restrictions in India and Pakistan Amid Government Orders for Content Removals

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New Report Finds That X May Be Inflating its Ad Performance Results

X is facing new challenges in both India and neighboring Pakistan, with the Indian Government calling on X to censor specified accounts to counter unrest, and Pakistani officials seemingly blocking access to X altogether, amid accusations of vote rigging in its recent election.

Firstly, in India. As confirmed by X, the Indian Government has issued a new order for X to ban users that it has identified as prompting civil disobedience.

As per X:

“The Indian government has issued executive orders requiring X to act on specific accounts and posts, subject to potential penalties including significant fines and imprisonment. In compliance with the orders, we will withhold these accounts and posts in India alone; however, we disagree with these actions and maintain that freedom of expression should extend to these posts.”

X says that even though it is moving to fulfill these orders, it will also continue to challenge the Indian Government’s bans through whatever legal means it has available.

It’s not the first time that the Indian Government has demanded specific censorship from the platform, with both X and previous Twitter management being called upon to remove certain comments and users who’ve gone against official rulings.

Last year, X was forced to remove a BBC documentary that was critical of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi after it was banned in the nation, which many used as an example to highlight X’s inability to uphold its own free speech approach.  

Twitter, meanwhile, was served with a non-compliance notice in 2021 for refusing to action similar account takedown demands from the Indian Government. In that instance, which directly related to civil unrest, India threatened to shut down Twitter entirely in response, while it also suggested that the company’s Indian staff could face up to seven years jail time for failing to comply.

As such, Twitter was effectively forced to action India’s requests, in order to protect its staff (note: The Indian Government has denied that any such threats occurred).

Both incidents serve as reminders of how authoritarian regimes will look to control mass communication platforms, like Twitter and X, in order to manage messaging, and combat noncompliance.

Pakistan, too, has a long history of seeking to control social platforms, though more notably due to “inappropriate content”, as opposed to what users are saying. Pakistan, which is a Muslim country, has banned various apps, at different times, in response to concerns about content, though in this latest instance, it does seem to be taking a leaf out of India’s book in using bans to quell civil unrest.

X will now have to find a way to maintain an adequate balance between adhering to such requests, while upholding its own “free speech” ethos, though X owner Elon Musk has been clear from the start that his free speech push will not go beyond the bounds of local laws in each region.

So while Twitter has challenged India’s requests in the past, and X has vowed to seek further legal clarification around the same, it will be aligning with the Indian government’s requests, and removing users and content in line with their requirements.

Does that mean that X isn’t willing to stand its ground on its much lauded open speech approach?

No, not when the alternative is to see X banned entirely, which would eliminate all speech for the impacted individuals, and reduce all protests against government action.

And no matter what your opinion of X may be, it is still a highly influential platform, in many ways, which is why officials are still looking to control the discussion in the app.

Though the bigger for question for Elon specifically is how such actions could impact his other businesses.

Tesla is still working to get into the emerging Indian market, which could become a huge sales opportunity for the company. Tesla’s been working with the Indian Government to enact new concessions on import duties, in order to bring its vehicles to market, and it’d be interesting to know whether Indian officials have used such as a lever to pressure action at X.

Based on what we know, it does seem like X would have little choice either way, but it’s another consideration in this instance, which could cause some uncomfortable internal discussions around the same.



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