Facebook's overall user growth momentum is slowing, but it continued to add millions more active users once again in Q3, while its revenue remained steady, boosted by sales of VR units and its Ray Ban smartglasses.
First off, on users – Facebook added 22 million more daily actives to rise to 1.93 billion DAU, inching closer to the 2 billion daily user milestone.
As you can see here, Facebook saw the most significant user growth in the Asia Pacific region, where its steady progress in India and Indonesia are helping to boost its numbers, while it also added a million daily actives in the US and Canada, after remaining stagnant for the previous three quarters.
That’s a small, but positive sign, especially considering the most recent internal insights from the company, which suggest that the platform is struggling to add more users, especially in younger age brackets. Of course, the data in the above chart is not broken down by age, but any growth is a bonus.
In terms of monthly users, Facebook now has 2.91 billion on Facebook alone, an increase of 6% year-over-year.
It would be a concern, however, that Facebook lost users in the ‘Rest of the World’ category, which has long been a key growth driver for the app. It did gain daily actives in the same, but its overall growth momentum is clearly slowing as it gets closer to the 3 billion MAU threshold.
Which it’s already technically crossed, when you consider its ‘Family of Apps’- i.e. combined users of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp - which is now at 3.58 billion per month, and 2.81 billion daily.
That means that there are close to a billion people that use Instagram, Messenger and/or WhatsApp who don’t also use Facebook. Which doesn’t provide a clear picture of how many users each app, specifically, has, though the majority in this segment, you would assume, would be WhatsApp users, which currently serves 2 billion monthly actives in its own right.
Despite the many controversies and concerns, Facebook continues to grow, and when you also consider that the population of the world is currently 7.9 billion, and that Facebook’s apps are banned in China, which has 1.4 billion citizens, the company’s reach is truly amazing. This is why Facebook is so influential, and why investigators are right to look deeper into how it can be used to facilitate the spread of harmful movements, and what can be done to address such.
On the revenue side, Facebook brought in $29 billion for the quarter, almost exactly the same as the previous period.
Like all social platforms, Facebook’s advertising growth has been impacted by Apple’s ATT update, which has reduced the amount of data Facebook has to track and target ads. How significant that impact will be, ongoing, Facebook is still working to assess, but it is implementing new fixes and workarounds to provide more measurement solutions for ad partners.
The majority of Facebook’s revenue, of course, still comes from North American users, which also points to increasing opportunities in other regions.
As you can see here, Facebook’s US earnings are well ahead of other markets, which bodes well for its ongoing growth potential as it works to develop its systems, and boost take-up, in these regions.
Worth also noting Facebook’s growth in its ‘Other Revenue’ chart.
Facebook’s ‘Other Revenue’ streams include VR and its new Ray Ban smart glasses, and the numbers here show that take-up of these new hardware offerings is on the rise.
Which we’ll get more data on, specifically, in future, with Facebook also announcing plans to list its Facebook Reality Labs earnings as a separate element of its reports in future.
“As we have discussed, we are dedicating significant resources toward our augmented and virtual reality products and services, which are an important part of our work to develop the next generation of online social experiences. The new segment disclosures will provide additional information on the performance of FRL and the investments we are making.”
That will provide more context as to how Facebook’s new tech bets are faring, and as it moves to become a ‘metaverse company’, these insights will provide some key guide posts as to how the company is evolving, and what type of growth it's seeing in these areas.
It’s a fairly stable report card from The Social Network, with some positive signs, but also some stagnation in certain areas that may raise some concerns. Facebook’s also facing a raft of bad press, and likely investigations, as a result of the recent release of internal research documents, which could have a major impact on its future plans. But right now, Facebook is still working towards the future, with new connectivity pipeline projects, advanced AR and VR tools, and plans to facilitate the next stage of digital connection.
Whether that’s a good thing or not will likely come down to how you view the Facebook Files reports, and it is, of course, possible that the ongoing negative coverage will eventually slow new user sign-ups.
But right now, based on these numbers, its business as usual for Zuckerberg’s social behemoth, which continues to grow, and expand its influence.