The bulls were clearly enthusiastic about Facebook's fourth quarter beat, but the stock remains more than 20% below its 52-week high. The company had revenue of $16.91 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts' expectations of $16.40 billion.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said he expects the Watch video platform to become "more mainstream" in 2019, claiming that building new experiences is one of the company's four priorities for the year ahead.
The social media giant now has 2.32 billion monthly active users (MAUs) globally - an increase of 9% (year-over-year) - and 1.52 billion daily active users (DAUs), thanks to the growth in emerging markets like India, the company said late Wednesday.
While Stories across all its products emerged as a strong source of revenue, Facebook CEO Zuckerberg emphasised that there are plans to bring new products to bring "major improvements to people's lives". Although the company offers no country-by-country breakdown of its users, 947 million were in the Asia-Pacific region, 381 million in Europe and 242 million in North America.
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Evaluating with its previous quarterly report, those figures rose by 1.8 percent.
"Between the intellectual tech press and the Washington elite, there's a huge disconnect between the news and what the rest of the world is doing", said Richard Greenfield, an analyst at BTIG LLC in NY. "Most of Facebook's advertisers have no other place to go with a return on investment this good". Versant Capital Management Inc now owns 2,826 shares of the social networking company's stock valued at $370,000 after purchasing an additional 82 shares during the period.
Facebook appears to be using Instagram to connect more with younger users and has also been ramping up its services on WhatsApp and Messenger. Both services also have over a billion users who are highly engaged (in fact, Facebook just revealed that Instagram Stories usage has jumped to 500 million daily users).
As it approaches its 15th anniversary, Facebook has been able to keep revenue momentum thanks to its unique advertising model that allows marketers to reach specific segments of users. Facebook has been running more promotions in messaging apps and in user posts called "stories" that only last 24 hours, because the main Facebook news feed is so popular it has less room to grow.
These metrics are a key signal to investors and others about how the company is doing and how quickly it's growing. "I think it's been a pretty productive day at Facebook", she said. If consumers haven't done so already, they will now realize that Instagram and WhatsApp are part of the Facebook family, potentially exposing those platforms to the reputation problems suffered by core Facebook over the past few years.