Looks Like Teens Aren't Dumping Facebook After All
The leading social networking website posted blowout quarterly results on Wednesday after the market close. Revenue soared 63 percent to $2.59 billion, fueled by a 74 percent surge in online advertising.
Facebook closed out the year with 1.23 billion unique monthly users, up from the 1.19 billion unique visitors it was welcoming three months earlier and the 1.06 billion Facebookers it was serving by the end of 2012.
The growth is more dramatic when we eye the daily traffic. A whopping 757 million of the site's registered users are active on the site in a typical day, 22 percent ahead of last year. Seeing daily active users grow at a faster clip than monthly active users is a testament to the growing stickiness of Facebook.
Where are all the skeptics now who said that Mark Zuckerberg was losing touch with teens and young adults?
To be fair, it was Facebook itself that initiated the chatter about younger users tuning out.
"We did see a decrease in daily users, specifically among younger teens," Facebook CFO's conceded during the third quarter conference call three months ago.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Facebook was asked to elaborate on teen engagement trends during Wednesday night's conference call. It didn't provide a whole lot of color. "In terms of teens, we don't have any new data to report today," the CFO said.
However, it's almost impossible to imagine Facebook's financials being this strong in a world where young users were visiting the site less often. Suggesting that they've been abandoning it in favor of sites like Snapchat -- which rebuffed Facebook's bid to acquire it in November for a whopping $3 billion -- flies in the face of Facebook's accelerating growth.
Arguing that teens are too glued to their mobile phones to hang out on Facebook's website the way that they did a few years ago also doesn't hold up. Facebook's mobile app is a major part of the Facebook growth story now.
A whopping 945 million of Facebook's users accessed the site through a mobile app in December, 39 percent ahead of where it was with smartphone owners a year earlier. Facebook may make some unpopular moves now and then, but it doesn't seem to be losing traction at all with users of any age.
The Power of Facebook
It's not just about more active users and those members flocking back to the site more often. The engagement is improving.
On a typical day this past quarter, Facebook posts experienced 6 billion likes. That's a 59 percent increase from the 3.8 billion likes it was averaging a day a year earlier.
A major key to the platform's success is the viral nature of Facebook Groups. The dedicated message boards of the past that defined the early years of the Internet have been replaced by Facebook's vibrant communities. There are now 500 million people engaging with Facebook Groups in any given month. This may naturally seem appealing to older users as fraternity brothers and high school alums catch up in private or public groups.
That's not too shabby for a site that was launched just 10 years ago. Yes, Facebook itself isn't even a teenager. The engagement figures point to a site that's getting more addictive with every passing quarter. Fickle teens or not, Facebook's growing too fast to dismiss.
Motley Fool analyst Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Facebook. The Motley Fool owns shares of Facebook. Try any of our newsletter services free for 30 days.