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Facebook shuts up critics with impressive Q3 financials

Matt Kapko | Nov. 10, 2015
Despite a few slow quarters and many damning predictions, Facebook's future looks bright again based on its accelerated growth on multiple fronts during the third quarter.

Facebook growth really started to accelerate about a year ago in Asia, and it has increased ever since, according to Facebook's most recent numbers. Meanwhile, the rest of the world, including the United States and Canada, also saw growth during the last couple of quarters. The company's year-over-year growth in MAUs declined through 2013 and 2014, but it started to again accelerate at the beginning of 2015. 

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Click on image to enlarge. Credit: Jackdaw

"[Facebook] is really just expanding access to the Internet and in the process making people Facebook users at the same time," says Dawson. "A big part of the growth is coming from these regions where people are coming online for the first time and Facebook's capturing them very early in their online lives." 

Facebook makes major gains, but …

Facebook saw accelerated growth in many important areas, but the company is not infallible.

For example, its operating margins dropped to 32 percent, from a high of 48 percent 15 months ago. Desktop ad revenue is down 8 percent year-over-year. And while average revenue per user (ARPU) grew at an impressive clip in the United States and Canada, the company's ARPU didn't fare quite so well in other global regions.

"There's this increasing disparity in ARPUs in the United States and Canada versus the rest of the world," says Dawson. The company sees annual ARPU of around $40 per user in the United States and Canada, while most of the rest of the world is in the $5 to $15 range, according to Dawson.

facebookq32015arpu 
Click on image to enlarge. Credit: Jackdaw

"Even in Europe it's far lower," Dawson says. "So there is this question of can they continue to grow ARPUs in the rest of the world or are they just going to start to stagnate at much lower levels, and what does that mean for their long-term growth?"

While Facebook no longer suffers from the same challenges as in years passed, the company still faces pressure to show sustained growth. Facebook's numbers are trending upward again as of late, but a few bad quarters could dramatically change the company's outlook. For now, however, the company is firing on all cylinders, with stock at an all-time high and a market cap of more than $302 billion.

 

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