Facebook increased MAUs by 8% YoY to 2.5 billion globally, and increased DAUs by 2.4% YoY to 1.6 billion, which was led by growth in India, Indonesia and the Philippines. ARPU increased to $8.25 in Q4FY19, from $7.26 in the previous quarter. Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp together had 2.2 billion DAUs and 2.89 billion MAUs. ARPU from all four services was $7.38, up from $6.33 in the previous quarter.
Net income, revenue both grow: Facebook’s net income grew 7% to $7.3 billion, and operating margins fell from 45% over 2018 to 34% for 2019. Facebook brought in $21.08 billion in revenue, up 25% YoY. CFO David Wehner, during a call with investors said that Facebook is expecting a slight decline in revenue in the next quarter due to the “increasing impact of from global privacy regulation,” among other things. He also confirmed that the company has agreed to pay a $550 million settlement for violating the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act.
- Zuckerberg said that the GDPR and CCPA would affect how much data Facebook collects from third-parties, and Google and Apple will also hinder that data collection because of their own product announcements (Sign in with Apple, for instance).
Total ad revenue: Q4FY19 total ad revenue was $20.7 billion. On a regional basis, ad revenue growth rates were strongest in Asia Pacific and Rest of World, which grew 33% and 28%, respectively over last year. Europe and U.S. and Canada grew more slowly at 24% and 22%, respectively compared to Q4FY18.
- 4 million advertisers are using Instagram Stories, up from 2 million this time last year, COO Sheryl Sandberg revealed.
- In terms of direct ads in messaging, Facebook is “taking that very slowly”. “We have a very slow rollout in Messenger. We don’t have that rolled out in WhatsApp,” Zuckerberg said.
Maintaining election integrity: “One of the things that I think we need to look out for, that the intelligence community has warned us about is some of the goal of some of these nation-state actors is not necessarily to interfere directly, but to just sow doubt about the legitimacy of an election. So even to the extent that we may not even see specific attacks, but if there’s a big meme that there is widespread interference, that has the same effect in terms of kind of sowing doubt about things,” Zuckerberg said.
WhatsApp Payments: Zuckerberg said that WhatsApp Payments will be a part of Facebook Pay, and added that if users need to pay for something on any of Facebook’s apps, they would have to enter their credit card details only once, and use it across the suite. He said that the service will start rolling out in a lot of countries, and that there is a “lot of progress here in the next 6 months”.
- He said that the biggest focus area for WhatsApp Payments is countries where WhatsApp is big: India, Brazil and Mexico.
WhatsApp, Messenger to be social media platforms? “Our texting apps today are primarily still texting,” he said, and added that the company is planning to build out an infrastructure so that WhatsApp and Messenger can evolve into platforms where “you can hang out and feel more present with people, where you can connect to different groups in different ways, interact with businesses and do payments and commerce”.
- Interoperability between services: Features that get built across Instagram or Facebook or WhatsApp “can also make your experience better across the other apps in the family,” he said.
Plans with AR, VR: Facebook’s expenditure on R&D grew 36% YoY, and a large part of it went into developing AR and VR products.
Commerce: Facebook wants to integrate Facebook Pay or its cryptocurrency Libra with its Marketplace and Instagram Store. He also said that in it is exploring using national systems such as India’s UPI or creating new global systems to facilitate payments on its commerce platforms.
Facebook Dating: Zuckerberg did not reveal any operational figures related to the platform, but said US is a good market for it, but only after they test it in other countries. He said that even if everyone doesn’t use Dating on the core Facebook platform, “if tens or hundreds of millions of people use them, then we’re adding unique value that other folks might not be able to build, and we’re making the app more valuable”.
FTC fine: The company still hasn’t paid the $5 billion FTC fine, since the agreement is still pending court approval.