Facebook posted single-digit user gains in the fourth quarter of 2018, gains that arguably push back against ideas that the social media platform would lose its hold on consumers in the wake of online privacy and security concerns.
Facebook’s daily active user based increased 9 percent year over year in the fourth quarter of 2018, and reached 1.52 billion on average in December. That matches analyst expectations from Refinitiv. Monthly active users also increased 9 percent during Q4, hitting 2.32 billion — that also matched analyst forecasts. Altogether, Facebook said in its earnings release that “around 2.7 billion people now use Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, or Messenger each month, and more than 2 billion people use at least one of our family of services every day on average.”
Facebook users are also bringing in more revenue for the social media platform.
The company’s average revenue per user stood at $7.37, a 19 percent year-over-year jump and an increase of 21 percent from Q3 2018. And mobile continues to increase its dominance when it comes to Facebook advertising. Mobile accounted for 93 percent of the company’s advertising revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018. That’s up from 89 percent for the same period last year.
“Our community and business continue to grow,” Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO, said in a statement. “We’ve fundamentally changed how we run our company to focus on the biggest social issues, and we’re investing more to build new and inspiring ways for people to connect.”
In fact, Facebook said its expenses for all of 2019 on are track to increase up to 50 percent from 2018. The company had earlier warned about its plan to increase its spending on security, along with marketing and content acquisition efforts.
Facebook continues to try to get ahead of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and complaints about the distribution of false political information on the platform. And along with other major players in the digital economy, Facebook is weathering mounting consumer and regulator focus on privacy and data security concerns that also apply to the larger digital economy.
Revenue growth also could slow over the course of the year, executives said. For the fourth quarter of 2018, Facebook reported revenue of about $16.9 billion, which came in higher than analyst estimates of nearly $16.4 billion.