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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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Op-Ed: Education tipline launched by Virginia governor is a slap in the face to teachers



Op-Ed: Education tipline launched by Virginia governor is a slap in the face to teachers

The first order of business for newly sworn-in Governor Glenn Youngkin of Virginia was to rescind the mask mandate for public schools.
Source – Virginia Governor Glenn Younglin

A bland-looking email address launched by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin designed to allow parents to report incidents at Virginia schools where they feel their parental rights are being undermined has created quite a storm on social media.

Much like Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s making neighbors snitches if they think someone is having an abortion, Governor Youngkin is allowing people to go to a website he has created so they can snitch on a teacher, librarian, school board member, and I guess, even the custodian or your child’s bus driver.

The Governor’s Office launched [email protected] with the intent for parents to report violations of his first two Executive Orders, which allow parents to opt their students out of school masking requirements and bans the teaching of “inherently divisive topics” including critical race theory in schools.

It appears that Youngkin went on the John Fredericks Radio Show Monday,  and said during his interview that “… [It’s] for parents to send us any instances where they feel that their fundamental rights are being violated, where their children are not being respected, where there are inherently divisive practices in their schools.”

The backlash over the order and the tip-line began to build on social media, with celebrities like John Legend and comedian Patton Oswald sharing the address with their followers.

“Black parents need to flood these tip lines with complaints about our history being silenced,” Legend wrote on Twitter, referring to the critical race theory ban.

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7News spoke to Oveta Scott, a Prince William County middle school teacher who has spent more than a decade in the classroom.

We are human beings too. We are going through it too,” she said when asked about her reaction to the governor’s new email tip line. ‘Why are you vilifying us and attacking us? What are we doing? We’re trying to stay afloat. We have a shortage of substitutes. We have a shortage of bus drivers. Every day, I have to look for an email to see if I’m covering someone’s class. Every day.”

Nothing but a big distraction by an irresponsible public servant

State Senator Louise Lucas, a Democrat representing the 18th District in the southeast part of the state, said she does not expect the tip-line to lead to much of anything.

“Like a lot of other gimmicks that a lot of other governors have put forward, this one is going to fall flat like a led balloon,” she said, adding that most people she has spoken to see it as an “intimidation” tactic, reports

“I have never seen a Governor act in such an irresponsible way as to reach down to the parents and by step the teachers, by step the principal, the superintends of school, just to try to intimidate,” Lucas said. “There’s more than just one segment of parents in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Is he listening to Black parents, Hispanic parents, Asian-American parents? Which parents is he listening to? He needs to listen to all parents. Last I checked, parents in the Commonwealth of Virginia want their children to be safe in school.”

Senator Lucas is letting Governor Youngkin off easy. I personally think Youngkin is taking a page from Texas Governor Abbott’s playbook, because just last week, at the public charter school, Founders Classical Academy of Lewisville, Abbott told hundreds of parents “The essential role of parents is being threatened by government itself.”

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Abbott isn’t relying on a web address for snitches. He wants to change the Texas state constitution to make sure that “parents will be restored to their rightful place as the pre-eminent decision-makers for their children.”

The Governor also told the crowd he wants to toughen penalties against educators, including teachers and librarians who give students inappropriate books. “Texas will ensure that any education personnel who is convicted of providing minors with obscene content will lose their educational credentials and state licensing, forfeits their retirement benefits, and be placed on a do not hire list.”

It is time for all this craziness to come to an end. Good grief – I am getting too old to deal with all this “Bull S—” going on today.

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Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams



Instagram Adds Scheduled Live Display on User Profiles to Improve Discovery of Upcoming Streams

After previewing it as a coming feature within its announcement of the expansion of remixable videos on the platform last week, Instagram has now outlined its new display of scheduled live streams on creator profiles, providing another way to raise awareness of upcoming live broadcasts in the app.

As you can see in these screenshots, shared by Instagram chief Adam Mosseri, the new display option will enable you to list your upcoming IG live streams on your profile, which, when tapped, will provide additional info in a pop-up prompt, where people can also sign-up for a reminder of when the stream is set to begin.

As explained by Mosseri:

“Creators have been able to schedule lives for a while now, but now, you can separate scheduling a live from creating a feed post, or even now a Story post, about that Live. You also get a little badge on your profile that’s lets followers know, or anybody know that goes to your profile, that there’s a Live coming up and they can subscribe to be reminded.”

Mosseri further notes that users can create as many scheduled lives as they like, with a side-scrolling list then added to your profile display.

It could be a handy addition for those who broadcast via IG Live, which could prompt more people to tune in, by raising more awareness about your broadcasts. Up till now, the only way to notify people about your upcoming streams in the app has been, as Mosseri notes, through posts and Stories, which limits the reach of those notifications to, generally, your existing followers. Now, anyone who comes by your profile will be able to see that you have a live broadcast coming up, which could bring in more viewers.

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IG Live has become a key connection surface in the app, particularly throughout the pandemic, and as Instagram looks to expand the option into eCommerce, facilitating more direct engagement between brands and fans, the capacity to map out a more effective IG Live strategy could be a big help in maximizing your on-platform efforts.

It may seem like a relatively small addition in the broader scheme, but it could be a big help in raising awareness, and getting more viewers to your upcoming broadcasts.

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LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding



LinkedIn Publishes New Report into Workplace Culture Shifts, and What They Mean for Employer Branding

LinkedIn has published a new report into the latest shifts in company and work culture, largely as a result of the pandemic, with many people’s approach to their career and professional development changing amid the ongoing re-shaping of the workforce and place.

As outlined by LinkedIn:

Because of the pandemic, employees are rethinking their priorities and their relationships with employers. They’re seeking flexible work arrangements and more work-life balance. They want to work for employers who value their physical and emotional well-being. And they’re ready to walk away from those who don’t.

LinkedIn’s 67-page ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report provides a detailed analysis of these changing attitudes and approaches, and how businesses can look to cater to employee needs, in order to build a better work environment.

The report looks at how people’s approach to their work is changing, particularly in regards to who they work for, and what they both represent and provide.

As you can see in this graphic, company culture is becoming a much bigger consideration, which is arguably because we now have more insight than ever into what each company represents, via social media posts and profiles. That underlines the importance of brands managing their external perception, and building a strong employer brand, which could also include empowering their employees to share relevant updates, reinforcing culture and ethos.

The report also looks at the changing approach to workplace flexibility, which is fast becoming a must-have for many organizations.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

The pandemic has shown that many companies can, in fact, operate remotely, and many employees have found that the freedom that can bring affords them many lifestyle benefits, which they’re not so willing to give up by returning to the office full-time.

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Of course, that varies. Some people like the structure and organization of the office environment, along with the social benefits, and there are strong arguments to be made for both approaches. But the stats here, and included in the report, point to the potential value of incorporating more flexible working arrangements.

Employee well-being is another point of focus, with interest in the topic on the rise:

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Which is another valuable element to this report – in addition to the overall notes on workplace shifts, LinkedIn has also incorporated data on key platform posting trends, which could help to inform your own strategy.

LinkedIn workplace trends report

Clearly, there is significant, and rising interest in these elements, and it’s worth considering how you can integrate such, both in terms of how you evolve your own workplace models to cater to such demand, and how you represent the same in your external posts and updates.

There are some valuable notes here, and some interesting points to consider in the coming post-pandemic shift. Because we’re not there just yet, with newer COVID variants still parking new waves of concern, and subsequent mitigation efforts. But as we progress towards the next stage, it is worth noting the broader impacts that the COVID shift has had on work, and how prospective employees are now looking at job postings and companies in their job search efforts.

Your social media presence can play a big role in this, and your LinkedIn presence in particular, and it’s worth taking in the various trends and considering what they could mean for your brand.

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You can read LinkedIn’s full ‘Reinvention of Company Culture’ report here.

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