Facebook Earnings Q1 2018: a reality check.

Cambridge Analytica and the truth behind keyboard warriors on the internet.

Facebook has just published its first figures in 2018 during the Q1 2018 earnings call with Mark Zuckerberg and they are surprisingly good. 
Well, not really surprising, is it?

Facebook’s revenue, Q1 2018 (Source)

“Facebook will not survive”

Despite the recent and very public discussions about the alleged Facebook data scandal and bold statements from a lot of people that “Facebook will not survive”, the earnings call on Wednesday, 25.04.2018, proved critics as well as analysts wrong by presenting stunning results.

Besides Q4/17 Facebook has never earned more money in a single quarter than in Q1/2018. $11.795bn to be exact.

This is of course a very short term look on how the Cambridge Analytica scandal may or may not affect Facebook’s revenue streams. However it gives a first glimpse into how revenue is developing and it doesn’t show any sign of slowing down.

ARPU (Average Revenue per User) is usually the interesting figure, which paints a well known picture:
Everything is growing and the US & Canada region is the most important one.

Facebook’s ARPU (Source)

If you take a close look Facebook is making the most money from its biggest customer base: US & Canada where the ARPU has grown +39% YoY. 
An outstanding result considering the platform’s overall growth in the last years as well as statements from big advertisers, who claim to rethink their digital spending habits.

The internet vs. reality

Yet, Europe is showing a very interesting development. Despite the fact that the European Union is on the forefront of introducing new data privacy laws (with a surprising exception in Austria) advertisers don’t seem to be d’accord with the EU’s approach. The region has grown 49% YoY since Q1/2017, which is the highest growth of any region!

Every region has grown in terms of ARPU as well as in terms of adding new users. Every region. This is very interesting since there has been such a big online outcry to #DeleteFacebook and to rethink your habits online.

To me this is once again a sign of the internet vs. reality. People are quick to diminish the value and relevance of something if there are enough other people around, who share such views. In reality however they post their concerns to Facebook, chat about it in Messenger and use Instagram like it has nothing to do with this discussion.

Advertisers, regulators and governments will need to adapt to the reality, that Facebook is here to stay. At least for now. At least as long as there is an alternativ. And there isn’t anything.