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Facebook Focuses on Audio Capabilities

Posted on Monday, May 10th 2021

Earlier this month, Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) announced its first quarter results that surpassed market expectations. The company is focusing on developing its audio services to target the growing competition from other social media players like TikTok and Clubhouse.

Facebook’s Financials

Facebook’s Q1 revenues grew 48% to $26.2 billion, ahead of the market’s estimates of $23.71 billion. The increase in revenue was attributed to a 30% year on year increase in the average price per ad and a 12% increase in the number of ads delivered on its platform. Adjusted EPS was $3.30 against the market’s forecast of $2.34.

Advertising revenues grew 46% to $25.4 billion and other revenues grew 146% to $732 million.

Daily active user (DAU) numbers for the core Facebook app grew 8% to 1.88 billion and monthly active users (MAU) grew 10% to 2.85 billion. The number of people active on any one of its family of products including WhatsApp and Instagram grew 15% to 3.45 billion people per month in the quarter. Daily active users on these applications were 2.72billion.

Facebook’s Political Response

During the quarter, Facebook announced its new partnership with Spotify that allows users to listen to music from Spotify while browsing through Facebook’s app. The in-line audio player allows users to listen to songs and playlists that are shared on the platform, without the need to be externally linked to the app or website. The feature is designed to improve the experience of creators on platforms, making audio a first-class type of media and will support both music and podcast playlists.

Earlier this month, it had also announced the launch of several other audio-focused initiatives. Later this summer, it is planning on releasing Live Audio Rooms across both Facebook and Messenger. Facebook will first test Live Audio Rooms in Groups that already have over 1.8 billion monthly users. It will also be made available to public figures and experts. It is leveraging its investments in audio technologies — such as speech-to-text and voice morphing — to build the audio creation tool directly inside the Facebook app. Through these technologies, it will allow users to record their events, add music from Facebook’s Sound Collection in the background, mix audio tracks, and include voice effects and filters.

To compete with the growing prowess of TikTok, Facebook announced the launch of a new short-form experience called Soundbites. The audio-only version of the TikTok competitor will allow users to move through algorithmically sorted short audio clips. Facebook will be testing Soundbites over the next few months with a small group of creators.

Besides audio, Facebook is also focusing on its developer platform. It recognized that the app ecosystem has broaden beyond games into other categories as well. Its most used apps are social, productivity, and fitness apps. To support the development, it launched App Lab, a service that will allow developers to ship early versions of their apps directly to consumers, without needing to go through its Oculus Store.

Its stock is trading at $319.08 with a market capitalization of $904.7 billion. It hit a 52-week high of $331.81 in April and a 52-week low of $200.69 in May last year.

Disclosure: All investors should make their own assessments based on their own research, informed interpretations, and risk appetite. This article expresses my own opinions based on my own research of product-market fit, channel execution, and other factors. My primary interest is in product strategy. While this may have bearing on stock movements, my writings tend to focus on long-term implications. The information presented is illustrative and educational, but should not be regarded as a complete analysis nor recommendation to buy or sell the securities mentioned herein. I am not a registered investment adviser and I am not receiving compensation for this article. I am an investor in this company.

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