As the social giant notches up a decade, The Drum takes a look at its journey so far, and how it has changed the media landscape for marketers.
It’s been a mixed couple of years for Facebook as the world's largest social media platform faced an array of challenges, from trying to establish how to monetise its mobile user base, to dealing with issues around inappropriate content, meanwhile fending off competition from the likes of upstart Snapchat and What'sApp.
The social network may have had its ups and downs, but with 1.23 billion active monthly users as of 31 December, and recent revenues highlighting growth, it looks set to continue its dominance for some time yet.
The company posted a 63 per cent revenue increase last week, seeing a 76 per cent increase in advertising (to $2.34bn) for Q4 of 2013. Mobile ad consumption also grew by around 53 per cent, a rise from 23 per cent from 2012.
Facebook also announced growth in mobile ad revenue, with mobile advertising accounted for a healthy $1bn of $2.6bn in sales made in Q4, easing concerns over the company’s ability to monetise its base of 945 million monthly mobile users. Shares in the company rallied by 12 per cent after the company’s mobile revenue announcement, indicating the figures have placated shareholders watching anxiously as the platform struggled to determine the best way to make money out of mobile since its IPO in May 2012.
Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer, said: “It is our first billion dollar mobile quarter. In fact, our Q4 ad revenue from mobile was nearly as large as our total ad revenue in Q4 last year.”
Daily active Facebook users in December of last year averaged 757 million, up by 22 per cent, while mobile users were up by 49 per cent, with an average of 556 million for the same month.
Monthly active users in December were 1.23 billion by the end of the year, up by 16 per cent, while mobile monthly users increased by 39 per cent to 945 million.
The full-year revenue for 2013 was $7.87bn, up by 55 per cent, while total year sales and marketing revenue was $997m, up from $896m in 2012.
Catherine Cherry, director of marketing communications, Sony Mobile, tells The Drum that Facebook has “revolutionised” marketing communications, forcing brands to up their game.
“Facebook changed the marketing rule book, revolutionising communications by providing a quick and easy way for consumers to share opinions – and because it is open for the world to see it forces brands to take notice. Smart brands have embraced this and engage in open conversations, learning about what their fans are interested in and adapting their content to keep consumers entertained.
“While other social platforms have risen in popularity and people’s favourites are diversifying, Facebook remains an important platform that should not be forgotten in any social marketing campaign. It has made the marketing industry a far more exciting place than it was ten years ago and is likely to play a key role for a long time to come.”
This feature will also run within the latest issue of The Drum magazine – published tomorrow (5 February) – available through The Drum Store.
Below is an infographic illustrated by The Drum to outline the rise of the platform through to present day.