April 30, 2021
Facebook’s advertising revenue rose 46 percent in the last quarter compared year-over-year, to $25.44 billion, and its profit almost doubled to $9.5 billion or $3.30 per share. That growth may not continue now that Apple is allowing users to opt out of being tracked by apps. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company has been preparing for Apple’s new rule. Facebook expects revenue to slow in Q3 and Q4, even as its shares rose 6 percent in after-hours trading, a gain of 16 percent over the past three months.
The Wall Street Journal reports Sandberg stated that, “we’re rebuilding meaningful elements of our ad-tech so that our system continues to perform when we have access to less data in the future.” “It’s also on us to keep making the case that personalized advertising is good for people and businesses, and to better explain how it works so that people realize that personalized ads are privacy protective,” she added.
E-commerce is a growing area for Facebook, which revealed that 250+ million people interact with 1+ million active shops. “We’ve made some good progress, but we recognize that getting to a really seamless transaction experience is going to take work on our side,” said Sandberg.
Facebook also “pledged to accelerate spending on investments including technical and product talent and consumer hardware,” including the ability to listen to podcasts via Facebook and rooms for live audio conversations as well as augmented reality glasses that work with sensor-packed wristbands.
The company’s non-advertising revenue “more than doubled” in Q1 to $732 million, from $297 million a year ago and is also “working to make it easier for users to create and sell their own content across its apps.” “What that says is they’re aggressive in their pursuit of growth,” said Truist Securities analyst Youssef Squali. “They’re doubling down on investments.” Facebook still faces an antitrust lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission and 46 states.
CNBC reports that Facebook “also reduced its forecast for capital expenditures for the year to between $19 billion and $21 billion.” It exceeded Refinitiv estimates of $2.37 per share, with an actual $3.30, and $23.67 billion in revenue vs. an actual $26.17 billion. It also slightly missed two FactSet forecasts, for daily active users (1.89 billion predicted vs. 1.88 billion actual) and monthly active users (2.86 billion forecast vs. 2.85 billion actual). Average revenue per user was $9.27 versus the $8.49 forecast by FactSet.
To explain its increased revenue, Facebook pointed to “a 30 percent year-over-year increase in the average price per ad and a 12 percent increase in the number of ads delivered.” Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg described “building out payment technology, including the diem digital currency and Novi digital wallet” as key to continuing to boost e-commerce.