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Facebook Posts Steady Results in Q3, With More Users and Stable Revenue, Despite ATT Impacts



Facebook’s overall user growth momentum is slowing, but it continued to add millions more active users once again in Q3, while its revenue remained steady, boosted by sales of VR units and its Ray Ban smartglasses.

Whether things will remain that way in light of the latest Facebook leaks is another question – here’s a look at the latest numbers from Facebook’s Q3 2021 report.

First off, on users – Facebook added 22 million more daily actives to rise to 1.93 billion DAU, inching closer to the 2 billion daily user milestone.

As you can see here, Facebook saw the most significant user growth in the Asia Pacific region, where its steady progress in India and Indonesia are helping to boost its numbers, while it also added a million daily actives in the US and Canada, after remaining stagnant for the previous three quarters.

That’s a small, but positive sign, especially considering the most recent internal insights from the company, which suggest that the platform is struggling to add more users, especially in younger age brackets. Of course, the data in the above chart is not broken down by age, but any growth is a bonus.

In terms of monthly users, Facebook now has 2.91 billion on Facebook alone, an increase of 6% year-over-year.

It would be a concern, however, that Facebook lost users in the ‘Rest of the World’ category, which has long been a key growth driver for the app. It did gain daily actives in the same, but its overall growth momentum is clearly slowing as it gets closer to the 3 billion MAU threshold.

Which it’s already technically crossed, when you consider its ‘Family of Apps’- i.e. combined users of Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp – which is now at 3.58 billion per month, and 2.81 billion daily.

That means that there are close to a billion people that use Instagram, Messenger and/or WhatsApp who don’t also use Facebook. Which doesn’t provide a clear picture of how many users each app, specifically, has, though the majority in this segment, you would assume, would be WhatsApp users, which currently serves 2 billion monthly actives in its own right.

Despite the many controversies and concerns, Facebook continues to grow, and when you also consider that the population of the world is currently 7.9 billion, and that Facebook’s apps are banned in China, which has 1.4 billion citizens, the company’s reach is truly amazing. This is why Facebook is so influential, and why investigators are right to look deeper into how it can be used to facilitate the spread of harmful movements, and what can be done to address such.

On the revenue side, Facebook brought in $29 billion for the quarter, almost exactly the same as the previous period.

Like all social platforms, Facebook’s advertising growth has been impacted by Apple’s ATT update, which has reduced the amount of data Facebook has to track and target ads. How significant that impact will be, ongoing, Facebook is still working to assess, but it is implementing new fixes and workarounds to provide more measurement solutions for ad partners.

The majority of Facebook’s revenue, of course, still comes from North American users, which also points to increasing opportunities in other regions.

As you can see here, Facebook’s US earnings are well ahead of other markets, which bodes well for its ongoing growth potential as it works to develop its systems, and boost take-up, in these regions.

Worth also noting Facebook’s growth in its ‘Other Revenue’ chart.

Facebook’s ‘Other Revenue’ streams include VR and its new Ray Ban smart glasses, and the numbers here show that take-up of these new hardware offerings is on the rise.

Which we’ll get more data on, specifically, in future, with Facebook also announcing plans to list its Facebook Reality Labs earnings as a separate element of its reports in future.

“As we have discussed, we are dedicating significant resources toward our augmented and virtual reality products and services, which are an important part of our work to develop the next generation of online social experiences. The new segment disclosures will provide additional information on the performance of FRL and the investments we are making.”

That will provide more context as to how Facebook’s new tech bets are faring, and as it moves to become a ‘metaverse company’, these insights will provide some key guide posts as to how the company is evolving, and what type of growth it’s seeing in these areas.

It’s a fairly stable report card from The Social Network, with some positive signs, but also some stagnation in certain areas that may raise some concerns. Facebook’s also facing a raft of bad press, and likely investigations, as a result of the recent release of internal research documents, which could have a major impact on its future plans. But right now, Facebook is still working towards the future, with new connectivity pipeline projects, advanced AR and VR tools, and plans to facilitate the next stage of digital connection.

Whether that’s a good thing or not will likely come down to how you view the Facebook Files reports, and it is, of course, possible that the ongoing negative coverage will eventually slow new user sign-ups.

But right now, based on these numbers, its business as usual for Zuckerberg’s social behemoth, which continues to grow, and expand its influence.

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Twitter Shares New Insights Into Holiday Shopping Trends [Infographic]



The data shows that people are planning earlier, while fashion-related topics are high on the agenda.


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TikTok Announces Fundraising Initiatives for Giving Tuesday, $7m in Direct Donations for Mission-Driven Organizations



TikTok will run a series of live-streams throughout December to highlight various charitable groups and causes.


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Instagram Launches Live Test of Longer Videos in Stories



After it was spotted in testing last month, Instagram has now officially launched a live test of 60-second videos in Stories, which will mean that longer video clips will no longer be split into 15-second segments, and played across various Stories frames.

As noted, last month, app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi shared this message, stored in the back-end code of the app, which is now being displayed to some users in the live environment.

We asked Instagram about the update, and it provided this statement:

The ability to create longer Stories posts comes highly requested by our community. We’re excited to be testing 60-second Stories so that people can create and view Stories with fewer interruptions.” 

Instagram says that the option is currently being tested with a small group of users, with a view to providing more creative freedom, and further integrating the app’s various video options to streamline its creative tools and functions.

Which, really, is the key focus. Back in January, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri flagged a coming consolidation of the app’s video products, with a view to better facilitating creation, and scaling back the platform’s various tools. That started with the merging of its video feed posts into a single format early last month, along with the retirement of the IGTV brand.  

As Mosseri explained to Decoder:

“We’re looking about how we can – not just with IGTV, but across all of Instagram – simplify and consolidate ideas, because last year we placed a lot of new bets. I think this year we have to go back to our focus on simplicity and craft.”

The re-thinking of its approach has been largely influenced by TikTok, which has become the most popular social app among young users, overtaking Instagram as the cool place to be.

Part of TikTok’s core appeal is simplicity – on TikTok, you open to a full-screen feed of video clips and live-streams, with all of it combined into one, optimized, focused listing, tailored to each individual user.

Instagram is far more segmented, with Reels in a separate feed, and Stories in its own section. That could be restricting optimal take-up, which is why Instagram’s now looking to bring all of these elements together, which will also, eventually, enable it to showcase the best of each aspect in a single, more-engaging stream.

The expansion to 60-second video clips in Stories is another step in this gradual merging, which, at some stage, will likely see the app open to a full-screen feed of Stories, feed posts and Reels, all in one, enabling IG, like TikTok, to use the full breadth of uploaded content to maximize user engagement.

It’s still a way off that next stage, but longer videos will mean that users can now post full Reels to Stories, for example, essentially merging the two functions automatically. Then it’s just determining how it shifts from the traditional feed to a more Stories/Reels aligned one instead.

That’s a bigger step, and a more fundamental change for the app. But as part of Meta’s broader focus on winning back younger users, you can bet that it’s coming, and likely sooner, rather than later.

Which is why this new test is a significant step. It’s limited for now, but you can expect to see longer Stories videos coming to your Instagram app sometime soon.


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