3bn users of Facebook apps as usage soars in lockdown

Joanna Estrada
April 30, 2020

"We experienced a significant reduction in the demand for advertising, as well as a related decline in the pricing of our ads", the company said in its earnings report.

Due to uncertainty around the pandemic, the company said it would not provide guidance for the second quarter or the full year.

Debra Aho Williamson, a principal analyst for eMarketer, described the results as "decent" for Facebook, "all things considered", but flagged concerns about the next three months. But the fact that revenue was flat in the first three weeks of April suggests that the second quarter will be much more challenging than the first, she added. That's more than double the $2.43 billion, or 85 cents per share, it reported in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose 18% to $17.74 billion from $15.08 billion.

Advertisers across industries have pulled or cut marketing budgets to rein in costs in response to virus-related uncertainty, including numerous small businesses and direct-to-consumer brands that market themselves heavily on Facebook.

Facebook said more than 2.99 billion users interacted with at least one of its apps each month in the quarter, up from 2.89 billion last quarter, as the use of social networks surged with people stuck at home during virus-related lockdowns.

Even before the pandemic slowed the global advertising market, Facebook reported its slowest revenue growth rate in history in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Jim Cridlin, global head of innovation at WPP's Mindshare media buying agency, said Facebook was buoyed by big brands, which have come to see the platform as essential after the company made a concerted push to attract them.

Monthly active users: 2.60 billion, up 10%.

The social networking giant has posted 1.73 billion on average daily active users (DAUs) for March 2020, an increase of 11% year-over-year. That's up 11% from a year ago. Live streams, which before the virus were used mainly to broadcast physical events, are now being used by teachers, entertainers and religious institutions to hold virtual classes, concerts and services. This week, Zuckerberg announced major product updates to Facebook's video lineup to cater to more people using video calls and livestreams on Facebook and Instagram. Some of that engagement is expected to slip once shelter-in-place orders are relaxed, the company said.

Zuckerberg also expressed his concern that the COVID-19 crisis "will last longer than people are now anticipating" and that reopening public places too soon will exacerbate the societal and business effects of the pandemic.

In 2020, Facebook is looking to hire at least 10,000 additional employees, but the company will "moderate some areas of our expense growth", Zuckerberg said on the call.

Still, Facebook's stock rose almost 10 percent in after-hours trading, as revenue beat analyst expectations, and the company shared some bright spots about its user base.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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