Analysts are scrambling to make sense the market reaction to Facebook ($FB) despite the company having beat or met all of the usual earnings metrics. Indeed, earnings per share (EPS) beat expectations and revenue was $21.08 billion - also topping forecasts. Even daily and monthly active users met or beat expectations, and revenue per user (ARPU) came in at $8.52 vs forecasts of $8.38.
So why is the stock down more than 7% after earnings on January 29? Some analysts point to slowing growth even this quarter saw growth of 24.7%. Instead, they're looking at the company's regulatory challenges and how the public now perceives a company that's been mired in political and social scandals.
But one only needs to look at Facebook itself. Even on its own platform, Facebook likes — the number of people who click on the "Like" button on Facebook's own page on the very same social network — has plateaued.
As of this week, Facebook has 215 million likes or followers on Facebook. At this time last year, it had 213 million. A rise of 2 million followers may sound like a lot — and it would be for just about any other business on Facebook — but historically, growth has slowed.
As of this week, year-over-year follower growth for Facebook on Facebook is just 0.6%. Last year at this time that growth was 3.4%. And in late 2017, Facebook was seeing year-over-year follower growth of as much as 17.7%.
And if Facebook isn't growing on Facebook, where is it growing? While Facebook is now a platform dedicated to advertising, video, publishing, VR, and e-commerce, at the end of the day it's still a social network that trades in likes and follows.
Outside of Facebook, things aren't looking any better for the company when it comes to social media sentiment. Follower count on Twitter has fallen over the past year.
As of this week, Facebook has 13.5 million Twitter followers. It's lost nearly 20,000 followers in just the past month.
About the Data:
Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.
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