Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) shares have struggled recently as investors worry about slowing increases in ad load and what appears to be decreasing teen engagement. However, JPMorgan analysts remain confident in the social network and say that the company is making the right decisions. They also say there’s no need to be worried about teen engagement because many of the teens who are using Facebook less are instead using Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
JPMorgan reiterates Overweight on Facebook
Analyst Doug Anmuth and the rest of his team are reiterating their Overweight rating and $62 per share price target on Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). They said although investors are concerned about ad load increases, the social network is first optimizing user performance before focusing on ad loads. They believe this is the right decision because demand among advertisers is increasing, thus making a bigger quantity possible over time. In addition, as the quality and targeting of ads improves, click-through rates will improve. They said “the majority” of ads purchased on Facebook aren’t being clicked on, so the social network must improve click-through rates in order to boost sales.
They also note that there’s more to Facebook’s advertising platform than just ad load. They point to auto-play video ads, which are currently in early beta. They think click-to-play ads are doing well, especially for advertisers in the entertainment industry. In addition, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is rolling out ads on Instagram, which they expect will be “attractive for advertisers.”
Facebook data looks strong
The JPMorgan team also examined engagement data for October, noting that growth in total U.S. minutes decelerated 400 basis points to a 30% year over year increase, compared to 34% in September. They report that total Internet minutes also decelerated 400 basis points, ending at a 9% increase year over year, compared to 13% in the previous month.
However, the analysts said minutes on non-Facebook services, including Facebook-owned Instagram as well as Twitter, Snapchat and Whatsapp, saw a bigger deceleration of 500 basis points in year over year growth. Total U.S. smartphone Internet minutes dropped 6% in October from their peak in August. Facebook fell 5%, while competing services fell 8%. Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) also saw its worldwide minutes grow 12% year over year, compared to 9% in September and 1% in the month before that.