Shares of Facebook climbed more than 2% today to hit a new high of $81.88 apiece. The social network’s market capitalization now stands at around $227.66 billion. There doesn’t appear to be any special reason Facebook shares are higher today, but as Business Insider‘s Jay Yarow suggests, this seems like a fitting end to this year for the company.
Facebook had a busy year
This year Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has accomplished a lot. It paid $2 billion for Oculus Rift, the maker of a virtual reality headset. The social network also paid $22 billion for messaging app WhatsApp and transformed Facebook Messenger into a separate app apart from the main Facebook app. Facebook also began experimenting with several additional apps.
For example, this year the social network ran a couple of experiments with Democratic Senate campaigns, reports The New York Times. The goal of the experiments was to see if advertising encouraged users to make contributions to political campaigns. According to Facebook, the experiment did exactly what it was designed to do.
However, there are some unanswered questions relating to the experiment. For example, candidates Michelle Nunn and Mark Udall both said they had success with their Facebook ad campaigns, although both of them lost their respective races. They did report though that sending Facebook ads to people who had already given them their email addresses brought in more money when emails were sent later requesting donations. These scenarios were chalked up as a win for Facebook’s experiment even though the Facebook ads themselves did not bring in the donations directly.
New sources of revenue for Facebook
In addition, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) paid $1 billion for Instagram two years ago, which this year has shown turned out to be an excellent buy. Surveys have indicated that Facebook is losing popularity among teens, however, those teens are defecting to Instagram, so Facebook isn’t truly losing them.
Some analysts estimate that Instagram alone is worth $35 billion, and with 300 million users, is bigger than Twitter. And Instagram’s value will only grow, as the social network is beginning to experiment with advertising. That could mean Instagram ads will be Facebook’s next major revenue stream.
Facebook has also rapidly grown its mobile revenue, and some estimates put the social network’s mobile ad revenue at triple that of Google in markets like the U.S.