Facebook has a lot of reasons to celebrate. The social-networking giant turned 12 recently, and it reported stellar financial results for the fourth quarter. Going forward, there will be a lot more reasons to celebrate thanks to its product portfolio: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.
Facebook, Instagram to lead the charge
On Tuesday at a Goldman Sachs technology conference in San Francisco, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and CFO Dave Wehner sounded upbeat during an on-stage interview. Sandberg said that at present, the company has its focus on connecting people and businesses and on boosting the value of ads on the two platforms. Therefore, for the next three years, the company’s growth will come from Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook’s advertising business is huge, and Sandberg said the company will make ads that are more relevant to users, constantly create new, higher quality ad formats, and provide metrics that show the ads are driving real results for their businesses. Facebook’s revenue grew by a record 52% in the latest quarter to $5.84 billion.
Sandberg said that Messenger, WhatsApp and search will fuel the next wave of growth, which will rev up over the next five years.
“Those are new areas we are working on and think will really contribute to our growth,” the executive said. She added that the company will increasingly integrate artificial intelligence, virtual reality and 360 videos with Facebook’s suite of apps and products.
Shift to mobile
It was a wide-ranging conversation during which Sandberg and Wehner took topics like the shift to mobile, Facebook’s internal culture and the rise of live sharing for discussion. Sandberg said that businesses are still making efforts to catch up to customers’ shift to mobile, and converting smaller businesses into advertisers is one of the biggest current opportunities for Facebook. Currently, there are about 50 million businesses on Facebook but just more than 2 million advertise on the site.
“The certainty is the whole industry is shifting to mobile,” Wehner said, adding that Facebook intends to build out its mobile services, for which it will continue to expand its headcount. “We’re constantly innovating the core products. It’s going to be making sure we have more video capabilities, making sure they work the best way for advertisers,” he added.
The social network is capable of making investments in longer-term initiatives like artificial intelligence and Oculus Rift because of the strength of its core ad business, and 2016 will be a big investment year for the company, Wehner said.