Facebook posts profit jump, shares soar to record-high, and messaging monetisation

Tyrone Stewart

Mark ZuckerbergFacebook posted impressive results for Q2 2017, as year-on-year (YoY) revenues and profits continued to grow, driven by an increase in mobile ad sales.

The internet giant saw its overall revenues increase by 45 per cent $9.32bn, up from $6.44bn for the same period last year. Of this revenue, $9.16bn came from advertising, up 47 per cent, with mobile advertising responsible for 87 per cent, compared to 84 per cent the year prior. This jump in revenues meant the company’s net income rose a staggering 71 per cent YoY to $3.89bn, from $2.28bn.

“We had a good second quarter and first half of the year,” said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO. “Our community is now two billion people and we're focusing on bringing the world closer together.”

Facebook reported that its daily active users (DAUs) sat at 1.32bn on average for June 2017, an increase of 17 per cent YoY. Meanwhile, monthly active users (MAUs) also saw an increase of 17 per cent to 2.01bn, as of 30 June.

The social network didn’t give any indication on specifics surrounding Instagram, Messenger or WhatsApp but, in an earnings call, Facebook CFO David Wehner said: “We are also pleased to see strong adoption and community growth across video, Instagram Stories, Messenger and WhatsApp. While these products do not monetise at the same level as News Feed, they are providing new ways to build global community.”

As a result of the Q2 report, Facebook’s stock price rose to an all-time high in after-hours trading – rising by more than four per cent to $173 per share.

Despite all of these positives, the work doesn’t stop for Facebook and, per the aforementioned earnings call, it looks like much of this work will go into Messenger and WhatsApp monetisation – well, at least, Wall Street seems to hope so.

Much of the earnings call was dominated by analysts wanting to know more about the plans for monetisation on Facebook’s two messaging platforms.

“From a monetisation perspective, I think the strategy there is were focused on growing the user base, first and foremost, and then secondly, it’s about building organic connections between businesses… and consumers, and then third, it’s about how we build monetisation around those relationships,” said Wehner. “I think there, we’re further along with Messenger than we are with WhatsApp.”

Eventually, the questions became more focused on solely Messenger, once it was realised an advertising rollout on the platform would come sooner there than on WhatsApp.

“There are two basic things that we’re doing,” said Zuckerberg, speaking specifically about Messenger. “One is we’re starting to put some ads into the product just to see the basic parameters around how that performs, how people like the ads or don’t, how they work for businesses and just try to get an understanding of that. We’re starting to run that across the world.”

He later added, as a warning: “I’m happy with the rate of growth in the experiences that we’re seeing on Messenger. But if there’s one message here that I think is actually important to say, it’s that we’re trying to communicate that the pace of growing the Messenger business, it’s a longer-term thing.

“Over the next couple of years or a few years, the much bigger driver of the business and determinant of how we do is going to be video, not Messenger. Messenger, I think, is a really important thing and WhatsApp over a three to five-year period and we’re investing a lot and that is a huge opportunity.”

So, I guess that means we can expect advertising rolled out to both Messenger and WhatsApp – but it could be from any time between now and 2022 basically.