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Facebook Climbs to 2.5 Billion Monthly Active Users, But Rising Costs Impede Income Growth

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Facebook has published its Q4 2019 performance update, showing increases in both users and revenue, though costs associated with newer initiatives are also impeding overall growth. 

First off, on users – Facebook added 34 million daily active users, taking it to 1.66 billion DAU for the period.

Facebook Q4 2019 - Daily Active Users

Facebook added a million more users in the North American market, where it generates the majority of its revenue, while it saw the most significant growth, once again, in the Asia-Pacific market, adding 14 million more daily actives.

Overall, Facebook’s daily user growth momentum remains steady, and in line with ongoing growth patterns, though it will need to increase revenue per user in regions outside the US to boost its earnings.

Facebook Q4 2019 - ARPU

In terms of monthly actives, Facebook climbed to a new milestone of 2.5 billion MAU.

Facebook Q4 2019 - Monthly Active Users

This was also lead by the Asia Pacific region, where Facebook continues to reach new markets. It’ll take some time for Facebook to convert those newer users into more lucrative targets for advertisers, boosting its revenue potential, but with initiatives like Facebook Pay in India and Indonesia, combined with on-platform shopping, it’s already taking steps towards building the next major business eco-system. 

This time around, Facebook has also provided insights into overall usage across its ‘family of apps’ – or combined usage data across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

Facebook Q4 2019 - Family of Apps

As explained by Facebook:

“Our Family metrics represent our estimates of the underlying number of unique people using one or more of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and/or WhatsApp (collectively, our “Family” of products). We define a DAP as a registered and logged-in user of one or more Family products who visited at least one of these products through a mobile device application or using a web or mobile browser on a given day.”

As you can see here, across its app ‘family”, Facebook now serves 2.26 billion people every day, a huge breadth of reach which far outpaces any other social network. 

Reporting its app usage stats in combination seems like cheating, in some ways, using the company’s massive scale beyond its main platform, acquired through acquisition, to potentially mask growth slowdowns on any of its given tools. But then again, given the way Facebook’s ad platform works, that figure is relevant with respect to how many people you can reach through Facebook’s tools.

Facebook has also provided a monthly family of apps usage chart.

Facebook Q4 2019 - Family of Apps MAU

In terms of revenue, Facebook posted a massive $21 billion result for Q4, up 25% year-over-year.

Facebook Q4 2019 - Revenue

However, there are some concerning signs also. In among its financial data listings, you can see that the company’s costs and expenses have increased 51% year over year.

Facebook Q4 2019 - costs and expenses

Facebook’s efforts to clean-up its platform and improve content moderation have played a significant part in this – according to its disclosure listings, staff headcount has increased 26% year-over-year, and that’s likely to increase further in 2020 as it looks to better address key concerns in line with expansion. For example, that figure doesn’t count the rise in contractors that Facebook also uses for moderation, or the journalists it’s hiring as part of its renewed push into news content, or jobs to be created as it ramps up its efforts to focus on user privacy. Each of these elements will take more staff, which means more cost, and the mounting expenditure has slowed down Facebook’s overall income growth for Q4.

As a result, shares in Facebook were sold down in after-hours trading

Overall, the numbers are still good for Facebook, it’s still performing at an extremely high rate. But it’s ever-growing list of projects does come at a cost, and at least in this quarter, that cost impacted its overall performance more than it would like. 

But really, it’s this chart that’ll be a key focus. 

Facebook Q4 2019 - average revenue by region

Facebook is still heavily reliant on the North American region. 

In order to keep pushing forward on its focus projects, it needs to maximize revenue generation in other markets to capitalize on its massive reach. 

Socialmediatoday.com

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

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Twitter Outlines New Platform Rules Which Emphasize Reduced Reach, as Opposed to Suspensions

After reinstating thousands of previously suspended accounts, as part of new chief Elon Musk’s ‘amnesty’ initiative, Twitter has now outlined how it will be enforcing its rules from now on, which includes less restrictive measures for some violations.

As explained by Twitter:

“We have been proactively reinstating previously suspended accounts […] We did not reinstate accounts that engaged in illegal activity, threats of harm or violence, large-scale spam and platform manipulation, or when there was no recent appeal to have the account reinstated. Going forward, we will take less severe actions, such as limiting the reach of policy-violating Tweets or asking you to remove Tweets before you can continue using your account.”

This is in line with Musk’s previously stated ‘freedom of speech, not freedom of reach’ approach, which will see Twitter leaning more towards leaving content active in the app, but reducing its impact algorithmically, if it breaks any rules.

Which means a lot of tweets that would have previously been deemed violative will now remain in the app, and while Musk notes that no ads will be displayed against such content, that could be difficult to enforce, given the way the tweet timeline functions.

But it does align with Musk’s free speech approach, and reduces the onus on Twitter, to some degree, in moderating speech. It will still need to assess each instance, case-by-case, but users themselves will be less aware of penalties – though Musk has also flagged adding more notifications and explainers to outline any reach penalties as well.

“Account suspension will be reserved for severe or ongoing, repeat violations of our policies. Severe violations include but are not limited to: engaging in illegal content or activity, inciting or threatening violence or harm, privacy violations, platform manipulation or spam, and engaging in targeted harassment of our users.

Which still means that a lot of content that these users had been suspended for previously would still result in suspension now, and it leaves a lot up to Twitter management in allocating severity of impact in certain actions.

How do you definitively measure threats of violence or harm, for example? Former President Donald Trump was sanctioned under this policy, but many, including Musk, were critical of Twitter’s decision to do so, given that Trump is an elected representative.

In other nations, too, Twitter has been pressured to remove tweets under these policies, and it’ll be interesting to see how Twitter 2.0 handles such, given its stated more lax approach to moderation, despite its rules remaining largely the same.

Already, questions have been raised on this front – Twitter recently removed links to a BBC documentary that’s critical of the Indian Government, at the request of India’s PM. Twitter hasn’t offered any official explanation for the action, but with Musk also working with the Indian Government to secure partnerships for his other business, Tesla, questions have been raised as to how he will manage both impacts concurrently.

In essence, Twitter’s approach has changed when it chooses to do so, but the rules, as such, will effectively be governed by Musk himself. And as we’ve already seen, he will make drastic rules changes based on personal agendas and experience.

Twitter says that, starting February 1st, any previously suspended users will be able to appeal their suspension, and be evaluated under its new criteria for reinstatement.

It’s also targeting February for a launch of its new account penalties notifications.



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4 new social media features you need to know about this week

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New social media features to know this week


Social media never stands still. Every week there are new features — and it’s hard for the busy comms pro to stay up-to-date on it all.

We’ve got you covered.

Here’s what you need to know about this week.

LinkedIn

Social media sleuth Matt Navarra reported on Twitter that LinkedIn will soon make the newsletters you subscribe to through the site visible to other users.

This should aid newsletter discovery by adding in an element of social proof: if it’s good enough for this person I like and respect, it’s good enough for me. It also might be anopportunity to get your toe in the water with LinkedIn’s newsletter features.

Instagram

After admitting they went a little crazy on Reels and ignored their bread and butter of photographs, Instagram continues to refine its platform and algorithm. Although there were big changes over the last few weeks, these newer changes are subtler but still significant.

 

 

First, the animated avatars will be more prominent on profiles. Users can now choose to flip between the cartoony, waving avatar and their more traditional profile picture, rather than picking one or the other, TechCrunch reported, seemingly part of a push to incorporate metaverse-esque elements into the app.

Instagram also appears to have added an option to include a lead form on business profiles. We say “appears” because, as Social Media Today reports, the feature is not yet listed as an official feature, though it has rolled out broadly.

The feature will allow businesses to use standard forms or customize their own, including multiple choice questions or short answer.

Twitter

In the chaotic world of Twitter updates, this week is fairly staid — with a useful feature for advertisers.

The platform will roll out the ability to promote tweets among search results. As Twitter’s announcement points out, someone actively searching for a term could signal stronger intent than someone merely passively scrolling a feed.

Which of these new features are you most interested in? That LinkedIn newsletter tool could be great for spreading the word — and for discovering new reads.

Allison Carter is executive editor of PR Daily. Follow her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

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Twitter Tests Expanded Emoji Reaction Options in DMs

Twitter’s looking to give users a broader set of emoji reactions for their DMs, while also, potentially, enabling personalization of your quick reactions display in the app.

As you can see in these mock-ups, shared by Twitter designer Andrea Conway, Twitter’s testing a new search option within the reaction pop-up in DMs which would enable you to use any other emoji as a reaction to a message.

An extension of this would also be the capacity to update the reactions that are immediately displayed to whatever you choose.

Twitter DM reactions

It’s not a game-changer by any means, but it could provide more ways to interact via DMs, and with more interactions switching to messaging, and more private exchanges, it could be a way for Twitter to better lean into this trend, and facilitate a broader array of response options in-stream.

Twitter’s working on a range of updates as it looks to drive more engagement and usage, including tweet view counts, updated Bookmarks, a new ‘For You’ algorithm, and more. Elon Musk has said that he can envision Twitter reaching a billion users per month by next year, but for that to happen, the platform needs to update its systems to show people more of what they like, and keep them coming back – which is what all of these smaller updates, ideally, build to in a broader approach.

But that’s a pretty steep hill to climb.

Last week, Twitter reported that it’s now up to 253 million daily active users, an increase on the 238 million that it reported in July last year. Daily and monthly active usage is not directly comparable, of course, but when Twitter was reporting monthly actives, its peak was around 330 million, back in 2019.

Twitter MAU chart

As noted in the chart, Twitter switched from reporting monthly active users to daily actives in 2019, but looking at the two measurements, it’s hard to imagine that Twitter’s monthly active usage is any more than 100m over its current DAU stats.

That means that Twitter has likely never reached more than 350 million active users – yet Musk believes that he can best that by close to 200% in a matter of months.

Seems unlikely – even at current growth rates since Musk took over at the app, Twitter would only be looking at around 500 million users, optimistically, by the end of 2024.

If it can maintain that. More recent insight from Twitter has suggested that user activity has declined since those early post-Musk purchase highs – but maybe, through a range of updates and tweaks, there could be a way for Musk and Co. to maximize usage growth, beyond what seems possible, based on the stats.

We’ll find out, and as it pushes for that next level, you can expect to see more updates and tweaks like this, with enhanced engagement in mind.  



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