Facebook plans to announce its 2013 first quarter earnings tomorrow after the stock market closes.
Analysts expect earnings of 13 cents per share on revenue of $1.44 billion during the period of Jan. 1 to March 31. In Q4 2012, which included the holiday season, Facebook had earnings of 17 cents per share on revenue of $1.585 billion.
Here we’ll review the changes Facebook made in the first quarter across each of its areas of monetization.
Last year advertising made up 84 percent of Facebook’s overall revenue. In the first quarter of this year, the social network introduced new targeting capabilities and made a number of adjustments to the look and performance of its ads. The company also continued to ramp up the amount of ads in News Feed and on mobile, adding a three-in-one “Pages You May Like” unit and a new type of Page-Like ads to the mobile feed.
Partnerships with data vendors Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai opened up the opportunities for advertisers to reach new audiences based on third-party data, such as offline purchase behavior. This feature was in limited beta during Q1, but rolled out more widely as “partner categories” earlier this month.
Lookalike Audiences, which help advertisers target users similar to those in their Custom Audience databases, was another exciting new beta feature for advertisers last quarter. Facebook launched it globally in March.
A tool that was available for most advertisers throughout the quarter was conversion tracking. This allows advertisers to measure and optimize their ads leading off-Facebook. It’s particularly important to direct response advertisers and app developers.
Facebook today shared a recap and several videos from its event at the Game Developers Conference last month. The key takeaways from the presentations were Facebook’s commitment to the desktop gaming platform, its emerging focus on core and mid-core games, and its support for cross-platform games.
These are the three main areas to look at over the course of the year to understand the company’s progress as a gaming platform — something many are beginning to doubt or write off completely.
Facebook says desktop gaming is “healthy and growing,” despite the attention on mobile, tablets and other new platforms. The company pointed to research suggesting the desktop games business is expected to grow to $15 billion, not including China. Last year desktop games generated more than $2.8 billion, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the overall industry.
“We care about desktop because it’s big, and it’s growing and we can make it grow faster,” Director of Games Partnerships Sean Ryan said at the GDC event last month. “It’s a big business in total around the world and for Facebook.”
The social network says more than 250 million people play games on Facebook each month, which is a 15 percent increase over last year. Many think Facebook games are past their heyday, but Facebook says there are now more users playing games on the site than ever before.
Facebook has hired the team behind Spaceport, a framework for developers to publish their games across platforms, a company spokesperson tells us. Spaceport also announced the news today on its website.
Spaceport, which is part of Sibblingz, allows developers to create cross-platform games using a single codebase and without Adobe Air, which is known to be slow and unreliable. Instead, Spaceport uses ActionScript. It launched in April 2011.
Sibblingz co-founder Ben Savage and the Spaceport team will join Facebook in the acqui-hire deal. According to LinkedIn, that’s about seven people, but Facebook did not confirm how many new employees it is getting through the talent acquisition. As the social network is not acquiring the company’s technology, the Spaceport platform will continue under co-founder Peter Relan and his team from YouWeb.
Facebook users change profile picture show support for same sex marriage – As the U.S. Supreme Court met this week to address same-sex marriage, the Human Rights Campaign encouraged users to change their profile pictures to an image of a pink equal sign on a red background in support of marriage equality. Since then, the image and hundreds of variations of it have gone viral across the social network. Facebook’s data science team found that there was a 120 percent increase in profile photo changes on Tuesday after the HRC launched its campaign compared to the previous Tuesday. More stats are available in a note here.
Report: Zuckerberg gets political - Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly involved in forming a political advocacy organization with other Silicon Valley executives, including Joe Green, co-founder of NationBuilder and Causes, who was Zuckerberg’s roommate at Harvard. The group is expected to work to influence issues related to immigration, education reform and the economy. Zuckerberg has reportedly pledged as much as $20 million to support the Super PAC.
Amazon buys Goodreads – Amazon this week announced its plans to acquire Goodreads, a social reading community and book recommendation platform that integrates with Facebook’s Open Graph. The service will continue to operate under the Goodreads name and its CEO Otis Chandler. Amazon reportedly paid $150 million for Goodreads, which has 16 million members.
Facebook is adding a new section to users’ About pages on their Timeline that showcases the social games they play.
The games section is similar to the movies, books, TV and music sections launched with the latest profile redesign earlier this month. It displays the games users have recently played and all those that they’ve Liked. Users can customize the order of their About page to feature games more prominently near the top or hide it completely.
However, unlike those other sections for entertainment, the games section does not include a list of games users “want to play.”
This is a crosspost from sister site InsideSocialGames.
Today at the Game Developers Conference, Facebook revealed new statistics, features and a Game Center for developers.
According to Facebook, more than 250 million people are playing games on the social network every month. The company is continuing to showcase itself as a huge asset for mobile developers, too, pointing out that (as of February) 55 percent of the top 400 iOS apps are integrated with Facebook. Likewise, Facebook drove 263 million clicks to the Apple App Store and Google Play.
Facebook today provided updates regarding its transition from Credits to local currency pricing. The company offered new documentation for game developers and announced that migration will occur in Q3 this year.
Facebook decided to phase out Credits in favor of a user’s local currency — dollars, pounds or yen, for example — in June 2012. This allows the social network simplify the purchase experience and give developers more flexibility. Developers will be able to set more granular and consistent prices for non-U.S. users and price the same item differently on a market-by-market basis, as opposed to pricing their virtual goods in $0.10 USD increments as was required when Credits became mandatory in July 2011. This also eliminates any confusion that resulted from users trying to think about conversion rates for dollars, Credits and in-game currency.
Among the changes Facebook announced today regarding News Feed were a number of improvements for app developers, including larger feed stories, an updated games feed and app bookmarks that are visible from any page users navigate to.
The most obvious component of the redesign is how much bigger stories and photos appear in the feed. The example below is full size.
Facebook is testing new headlines for its latest games discovery module in News Feed to drive more users to canvas apps.
Some users are seeing versions of the module, which includes three suggested games, with the headline “Personalized games suggestions for you.” Other users have seen this module called “Games that are growing rapidly.” The original headline, “Games your friends are playing,” which was used when the module debuted in late January, is still in rotation for some users.
At least two of the three “games that are growing rapidly” as seen in the graphic below have been regularly appearing on sister site Inside Social Games‘ weekly list of fastest-growing Facebook games by monthly and daily active users.
Approximately 27 million users bought virtual goods using Facebook Payments in 2012, up from 15 million in 2011, according to a document the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.
Facebook generated $810 million in payments revenue in 2012. CFO David Ebersman said only $5 million of that came from sources outside of games, such as Gifts and user promoted posts. Overall, payments and other fees revenue in 2012 increased $253 million, or 45 percent, compared to 2011, despite close to doubling the number of users buying virtual goods.
That could be because of Facebook’s promotions to get more users spending money in games. Although the volume of paying users increased, it the amount new payers spend could be much less than other players. Another factor could be growth in international markets. Facebook says 51 percent of its revenue from marketers and developers based in the United States, compared to 56 percent in 2011. This figure includes advertising revenue as well, but international developers are increasingly finding success on the social network and the overall number of international users is growing much faster than in the U.S.