This is the eighth article within the “Facebook in 2018” series inclusive of top issues, fundamental changes and expectations for the year. Click here to see a list of the other posts within this series.
In the face of numerous challenges, including the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing controversy, Facebook continues setting the stage for long-term growth. From formally connecting brands and influencers to launching a new dating feature, Facebook is moving forward with their scaling user and advertiser bases in tow.
Growth Sign #1: Facebook Is Officially Connecting Brands with Influencers
Facebook has plans to remain relevant by connecting brands and the influencers that attract their audiences. Currently in beta, the Facebook Branded Content Matching search engine lets advertisers find content creators based on geography, interests, gender, education history, relationship status, life events, home ownership status and home type constraints.
Creators that opt in to the search tool create portfolios showcasing their audience size, engagement results and best branded content. Search results show the list of creators that best match advertiser requirements, including audience match percentage and engagement metrics. However, Facebook has not declared how they will ensure only brand-safe creators appear on their results lists.
At least during the test period, Facebook is only matching advertisers and influencers. The social media company is not involving themselves in the creation of influencer contracts, and they’re not taking a cut of the fees paid to influencers. Facebook’s objective, for now, is to create more compelling content for brands, more tolerable content for users and more advertising revenue for content creators. If they succeed, Facebook believes they will boost their audience and engagement metrics.
Growth Sign #2: Facebook Is Testing Ads on Facebook Stories
Launched in 2017, Facebook Stories now has 150 million daily active users (DAUs). To make sure they’re properly monetizing Stories as users shift their content sharing and consumption over, Facebook started testing Facebook Stories ads in the U.S., Mexico and Brazil.
Ads within Facebook Stories are skippable, five- to 15-second videos. Ads created for Instagram Stories can be used within Facebook Stories, and Facebook is automatically reformatting News Feed ads for users that want to test Facebook Stories. For now, there’s no clickable call to action (CTA) on Facebook Stories ads, but there are plans to add click-through CTAs shortly.
Growth Sign #3: Facebook Set to Launch a New Dating Feature
Announced by Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, the social media giant is in the process of developing a dating feature. Accessed through existing Facebook profiles but with separate dating profiles required, the dating feature will make recommendations to users based on interests, location and other data. Differentiating their service from apps like Tinder, Zuckerberg declared the Facebook dating feature is “about building real, long-term relationships… not just hookups!”
To facilitate communication, a separate messaging experience is being developed for the Facebook dating feature. Either user can send the first message but additional messages cannot be sent prior to receiving a reply, and messages will be limited to text (no videos, photos or links allowed).
According to Facebook, the dating feature will be free to their users, and no ads are planned within the dating section of their app. Facebook also declared that dating profile data will not be available for ad targeting. The launch date for the Facebook dating feature has not yet been announced.
Growth Sign #4: Facebook Launched a New Youth Portal
Earlier this month, Facebook launched their new Youth Portal to provide their younger users with tips on privacy, safety and security. From ensuring security to sharing mindfully, Facebook is publically empowering minors to connect with friends while staying safe.
Growth Sign #5: All Facebook Metrics Are Rising
Despite concerns that users would #deletefacebook or advertisers would cease campaigns, all Facebook use and monetary metrics are climbing.
- MAUs: The number of Facebook monthly active users (MAUs) worldwide was up 3% from Q4 2017 to 2.196 billion in Q1 2018.
- DAUs: The number of Facebook daily active users (DAUs) worldwide was up 3% from Q4 2017 to 1.449 billion in Q1 2018.
- Advertising Revenue: Facebook worldwide advertising revenue grew 50% quarter over quarter to $11.795 billion in Q1 2018.
- Stock Price: Despite slipping slightly in April, the Facebook stock price remains on an upward trend with May prices significantly above the prior year’s average.
Number of monthly active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2018 (in millions)
Number of daily active Facebook users worldwide as of 1st quarter 2018 (in millions)
Facebook's advertising revenue worldwide from 2009 to 2017 (in million U.S. dollars)
Facebook (FB) - 6 Year Stock Price History
Growth Sign #6: Facebook Made Staff Changes to Prepare for More Growth
In early May, Facebook announced staff changes designed to improve communication and enhance user privacy. The team modifications created three main divisions:
- Family of Apps: Led by prior Facebook Chief Product Officer, Chris Cox, the “Family of Apps” team will oversee Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger for a combined reach of more than 5 billion monthly users.
- New Platforms and Infra: Run by Mike Schoepfer, previously Facebook’s Chief Technology Officer, the “New Platforms and Infra” group will be responsible for leading long-term product and business efforts including augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) endeavors.
- Central Product Services: Javier Olivan, previously the Facebook Vice President of Growth, will lead the new “Central Product Services” team. This group is responsible for shared features, including ads and security, that operate across multiple products and applications.
Additional appointments within the teams were announced, as shown in the organizational chart below.
Source: LinkedIn, Facebook
Despite remaining in the hot seat, Facebook is setting itself up for continued and long-term expansion. User and advertiser growth shows that the world is along for the ride.
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Click on the links below to read the other articles within the Facebook in 2018 series:
- Facebook in 2018: 4 Top Issues – published April 11, 2018
- Facebook in 2018: 4 Fundamental Changes – published April 12, 2018
- Facebook in 2018: 3 Expectations – published April 16, 2018
- Facebook in 2018: 5 Highlights from Zuckerberg’s Senate Hearing – published April 18, 2018
- Facebook in 2018: 7 Highlights from Zuckerberg’s 2nd Day on Capitol Hill – published April 19, 2018
- Facebook in 2018: 866 Million Pieces of Content + 583 Fake Accounts Removed in Q1 - published May 22, 2018
- Facebook in 2018: 3 Reasons Facebook is Still in the Hot Seat – published May 24, 2018
- Facebook in 2018: 6 Growth Signs that Indicate Facebook Is Too Big to Fail – published June 5, 2018