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Facebook Earnings: Increase in ad transparency; revenues up 49%; dip in ARPU & more

Facebook has posted its first earnings since its the biggest fiasco of data scandal. In its earnings call for the quarter ended March 31, 2018 (Q1 2018), CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook has important issues to address.

“For most of our existence, we’ve focused on all the good that connecting people can bring. But it’s clear now we didn’t do enough to prevent these tools from being used for harm as well — whether it’s foreign interference in elections, fake news, hate speech, or app developers and data privacy,” he said. He added that Facebook is now going through every part of its relationship with people will continue to invest heavily in safety, security, and privacy.

He added that Facebook is doubling the team working on security and content review to more than 20,000 by the end of this year.

Ad-transparency: Facebook is also working to protect political discourse by making ads more transparent. For running political and issue ads on the platform, advertisers will need verified government ID. Mark claimed in the call that, “We’re also starting to roll out ads transparency tools that bring our ads to an even higher standard of transparency than TV or print ads. You’ll be able to see who’s running a political ad, who they’re targeting, how much they’re paying, and what other messages they’re sending to different people. We’re going to get this done in time for the 2018 US midterms as well as upcoming elections in Mexico, Brazil, India, Pakistan, and more.

Europe’s GDPR controls

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Facebook has started to roll out the GDPR controls in Europe, and it said that it is going to make all the same controls and settings available in everywhere in the world. “Its not going to be exactly the same format; it’s going to be localized instead for different parts of the world,” the company said in the call.


Facebook posted total revenues of $12 billion for the March quarter (Q1FY18), up 49% year-on-year (YoY) from $8 billion in Q1 2017. Advertising revenue contributed 98.6% or $11.80 billion of total revenues, while payments and other fees contributed $171 million.

Mobile advertising revenue stood at $10.7 billion, up 60% from last year, and contributed approximately 91% of total ad revenue, up from approximately 85% of advertising revenue in the first quarter of 2017.


Key operational metrics

Facebook’s Daily active users (DAUs) stood at 1.45 billion on average for March 2018 , an increase of 13% year-over-year, led by user growth in India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. This number represents approximately 66% of Facebook 2.2 billion monthly active users in Q1.

Monthly active users (MAUs) were 2.20 billion as of March 31, 2018 , an increase of 13% year-over-year. There were 873 million MAUs in the Asia-Pacific region, 377 million in Europe, 241 million in US & Canada, and 705 million across the rest of the world.

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Facebook’s average revenue per user (ARPU) dipped to $5.45 from advertising and $0.08 from payments and other fees. Last quarter ARPU from ads stood at $6.08. ARPU in US & Canada is still well above that in the other regions at $23.14 from advertising and $0.45 from payments. In Europe it is $8.01 and $0.12, in Asia-Pacific it is $2.45 and $0.01, and in rest of the world it is $1.67 and $0.01, respectively. This quarter Facbook’s ARPU saw dips, which was not the case in earlier quarters.

Other highlights

Facebook did not provide separate breakout numbers for its platforms WhatsApp and Instagram. However, in its earnings call it revealed that:

  • 3 million people are actively using WhatsApp Business
  • Instagram has 25 million Instagram business profiles, of which 2 million are advertisers

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