Advertisers continue to use Facebook despite privacy, brand safety concerns

By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 25 July 2019
Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook’s numbers continued to grow in the second quarter, unhindered by on-going privacy concerns from users and brand safety concerns from advertisers.

The Q2 results show that the social media giant’s daily active users has grown by 8% year-on-year to 1.59 billion, compared to 1.47 billion the same period last year.

The largest addition in users came from the Asia-Pacific which now has 615 million users compared to 546 million a year ago.

Total advertising revenue for the business came to $US16.6 billion, with the US still pulling in the majority of the business’ ad dollars, at $US8 billion, up from $US6.1 billion the quarter prior.

The Asia-Pacific collected $US3 billion for the social media giant, up from $US2.3 billion a year ago.

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Facebook confirmed its multi-billion fine from the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over the Cambridge Analytica scandal. It also confirmed the FTC opened an antitrust probe into the company in June.

Facebook’s ability to increase its advertising revenue comes despite warnings from advertisers that they will desert the company if it doesn’t adequately address its brand safety issues and privacy concerns.

“This company has repeatedly shown that it can grow both its ad revenue and its user base, even in the face of enormous challenges,” says eMarketer principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson.

“Today’s earnings release demonstrates that it still has that power. We expect Facebook’s worldwide ad revenue will increase 22.5% this year. That’s a higher growth rate than for digital advertising as a whole, which we expect will increase 17.6%.”

Williamson says that while advertisers are paying more attention than ever to Facebook’s problems, they also remain dedicated to the platform.

“They love Facebook for its massive reach and its precise targeting capabilities,” she says.

“But they are growing increasingly concerned that the two things they love will start to go away. Today’s FTC settlement doesn’t appear to have direct impact on Facebook’s business, but there is no reason to think that other regulatory or governmental investigations won’t have an impact in the future.

"We also think that Facebook will continue to scrutinise its own business practices and could in the future make changes to its targeting capabilities on its own.”

Facebook earnings

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