Facebook’s Q1: strong stats, Stories growth, future e-commerce
Facebook’s Q1 earnings report is out. Considering the turbulent time the platform has had over the last year, it’s still a pretty strong performance, with 2.38 billion monthly users, up 2.5 per cent from 2.32 billion in Q4 2018 and 1.56 billion daily active users, up 2.63 per cent in the same time period. It also managed to make $15.08 billion in revenue, up 26 per cent y-o-y. The platform’s earnings per share were down on estimates however, partly due to the fact it’s squirrelled away $3 billion to cover a potential Federal Trade Commission fine that is still hanging over its head. The report also came with the (somewhat surprising) revelation that Facebook Stories now has 500 million daily users across Facebook and Messenger. WhatsApp’s version of Stories, Status, also has 500 million daily users. Instagram – setting the standard for Stories – hit that milestone three months ago.
If Stories is where it’s at now, the future is about cashing in on shopping, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He revealed that while advertising across the Facebook family of platforms will continue to be its leading revenue driver, shopping and payment services across Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp will also be important going forward.
Good, but not good enough – Snapchat’s Q1 results
Snapchat’s Q1 results were also looking decent last week, at least at first glance. The platform saw growth in daily active users – 190 million, up 2 per cent from Q4. In fact, Snap added as many users in Q1 as in the past five quarters combined – its new Android app reportedly helped this growth. Snap saw $320 million in revenue, though it’s still a loss-making company and that doesn’t seem to be going away; it provided guidance of greater losses next quarter. There was a mixed reaction from Wall Street, with the stock soaring as much as 10 per cent after the results were posted. However, they later dropped down as much as 6 per cent the following day, as investors delved deeper into the company’s user growth which, although up on the previous quarter, is still down y-o-y.
Twitter performs well in Q1
Last but not least in the Q1 results round-up is Twitter. The platform said that revenue was up a pretty impressive 18 per cent y-o-y at $787 million. Monthly active users (MAU) were 330 million – up on Q4, but down y-o-y. Twitter is currently phasing out the MAU stat in favour of ‘monetizable daily active users’ – and quelle surprise, this one was up 11 per cent y-o-y. Investors were sold anyway, with shares up 7.15 per cent after the report. Twitter’s been focusing on making the platform easier to use and less noisy, as well as the general “health” of its content (misinformation and abuse) – looks like it’s starting to pay off.
Facebook tackles fake likes with legal action
Facebook is getting serious about cracking down on those using dubious methods to make money from its platforms. It’s taking legal action against a business and three individuals in New Zealand who reportedly profited from selling fake likes, followers and views on Instagram. Jessica Romero, director of platform enforcement and litigation at Facebook, commented: “By filing the lawsuit, we are sending a message that this kind of fraudulent activity is not tolerated on our services, and we will act to protect the integrity of our platform.”
Instagram adds quiz sticker
As if we needed to spend any more time on Instagram Stories, here’s the latest distraction – a quiz sticker. Available to all iOS and Android users, it can be found in the tray alongside the other sticker options and allows brands and individuals to customise questions for their followers to respond to.
Facebook kills off Messenger Codes
While Facebook pimps Instagram with one hand, it taketh away from Messenger with the other. The platform has announced that it’s killing off its version of QR codes – Messenger Codes – from August 15th this year. This means that users will no longer be able to generate and scan Messenger Codes in the app; instead of using these proprietary coded images, Facebook will fall back on the ‘traditional’ QR variety. Where’s the fun in that?!
Snapchat launches a new, exclusive ad platform
Snapchat is introducing ‘Snap Select’ – a new offering which merges its automated ad platform with an upfront way to pay for ads and reserve inventory in Shows. Similar to offerings by Google and Facebook, the new platform enables brands to buy ads without going through an auction; providing them with a fixed rate and guarantees on audience size. Snapchat has not yet disclosed how it will decide which Shows will partake in the upfront buying service.
Snapchat lets you play as your Bitmoji in video games
Snapchat has announced a new Bitmoji for Games SDK which will enable selected partners to integrate 3D Bitmojis into their games as a replacement for character skins. Soon, users will be able to scan an in-game code with Snapchat to play as their personalised Bitmoji across PC, console and mobile games. Bitmoji currently has 330 million estimated downloads, according to Sensor Tower, making it one of the platform’s most popular features.
Snapchat shows the effects of climate change with Earth Day Lens
To mark this year’s Earth Day, Snapchat launched a new Lens in partnership with the United Nations which showed the projected waterline in the year 2100, if emissions continue without change. The interactive Lens, available for one day one, allowed you to see the rising sea levels over the course of the next 40 years. Users could also tap the “More” button to be taken to the UN Environment website, which offers more detail on climate change.
Twitter trials new desktop layouts
Twitter has rolled out a redesigned desktop layout, which it originally announced in January and has been testing with a limited number of users. A twist in the tale though, the redesign doesn’t look the same to all users. Some will get a layout which features two columns, a larger timeline on the left, and the trending topics and who to follow features moved from the left to the right column; others will see a third, static column that holds the usual tools such as notifications and messages. Twitter used its now-standard excuse, sorry, explanation of wanting to gather feedback from users on the redesign.
LinkedIn tests new ‘Services’ listing on profiles
LinkedIn is currently testing a new update to help professionals, freelancers and business owners better showcase what they do. If released, the new ‘Services’ section will ask users to ‘Add services you offer’, before displaying them under the username at the top of the profile. There is currently no information on when or if the update will be released publically.
Beyoncé launches #BeforeILetGoChallenge on Instagram Stories
In her first-ever Instagram Story (where have you been Queen B!?), Beyoncé has launched the #BeforeILetGoChallenge – the latest viral dance challenge which encourages fans to share their “Before I Let Go” dance videos. She launched her cover of the classic 1981 song by R&B group Frankie Beverly and Maze, alongside Homecoming, earlier this month. Beyoncé has already shared dozens of clips of fans showing off their best moves and naturally, people are flipping out.
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