Facebook stock had a hot streak briefly in 2013, but investors have become increasingly concerned about the social network losing the “cool” factor. Falling teen engagement has some worried that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is going to become the next MySpace (remember that one?), but analyst Robert Peck of SunTrust says there’s nothing worried about because Facebook is more of a utility than a trend. He joins analysts from several other firms who have said recently that concerns about falling teen engagement are overblown.
Why it doesn’t matter if Facebook is cool
Rather than MySpace, Peck draws a comparison between Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) or Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). He said people will continue to use the social network because it is a utility. He said neither Google nor Amazon is considered to be cool any longer, but “teens and older people” continue to use them because of their “utility.”
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He said the way people share life events on Facebook is something that one change because it has “an air of permanence and a true community platform.” He believes that as teens age, they will return to Facebook when community becomes more important to them and they start to move physically away from their friends. He also said that as long as the social network keeps innovating, it won’t be in trouble.
Facebook’s numbers look good
Peck noted that a Pew study found promising numbers for Facebook. It indicated that 63% of adults use Facebook every day, and of that group, 40% of them go to the site multiple times every day. According to the analyst, this level of usage shows that the social network is a utility rather than a trend.
In addition he notes that Instagram could provide an even greater future for Facebook and its stock. As of the company’s last earnings report, there were 150 million users on Instagram, and he thinks that the company could see some big money from that network when it begins to fully monetize it.
Calculating Instagram earnings
The analyst said if Facebook shows two ads for every visit, that would be around 63 billion impressions it could sell on Instagram this year. At $2.50 cost per impression, he sees more than $150 million of incremental revenue from Instagram this year. That amount could grow to nearly $700 million by 2017.
So far, Facebook has seen some good indicators from its tests of Instagram ads. Ben & Jerry’s reached 9.8 million people between the ages of 18 and 34 in eight days. An ad for Levi’s on Instagram reached 7.4 million people in that same age bracket in nine days. In addition, control groups on both of those ads showed increases of double digits in brand recall from those ads.
Shares of Facebook stock rose as much as 1% in trading today.