For anyone who was still uncertain about Facebook’s continued dominance, the company’s fourth-quarter results made it clear the king is still king.
As Facebook celebrated its 10th anniversary, fourth-quarter profits jumped 700% while the total number of users climbed 1.25 billion.
As, if not more, impressive was more than 40% of Facebook’s advertising revenue came from mobile. It was that not long ago that many people were wondering whether mobile would fail to deliver the financial muscle required by Facebook to maintain its lofty valuation.
Instead, Facebook rumbles along, brushing aside suggestions teenagers are losing interest and a controversial Princeton University report suggesting it will lose 80% of its users by 2017.
The question that must be asked is how does Facebook maintain its mojo?
One of the key considerations is Facebook’s relentless drive to continually change. Whether it’s the news feed, search or pages, Facebook switches directions and gears. Often, these changes are a surprise and not well-received by users but Facebook charges forward.
Perhaps this reflects the hyper-kinetic personality of its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, or maybe change is a necessary evil in the fickle world of social media. Any social media that stays the same for too long risks getting stale and uninteresting, giving rivals an opportunity to steal people away.
Whether or not you enjoy Facebook, it has become a digital necessity. Much the same way pretty much everyone has an email account, most people have Facebook accounts, if only to have a presence in the digital world. Many people may have little need for Facebook but they’re probably users nonetheless.
While the enormous number of users is impressive, what’s even more astounding is how Facebook has turned into a money-making machine. Say what you will about how people may ignore the ads, Facebook is clearly an attractive advertising option for advertisers.
The leap from popular and free social network into a financial juggernaut should be the envy of anyone within the digital world.
What’s next for Facebook? Is there still more room for growth or does its growth appear capped?
Either way, there is little doubt Facebook will remain a fascinating story for the next few years.