Q4 2013 Social Media Revenues Recap: Facebook VS Twitter

Social media drives record revenue per visit for retailers

Adobe has released its Q4 2013 Social Media Intelligence Report analysing paid, earned and owned social media trends. The report shows Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr drove an exceptional amount of qualified traffic to retail sites in Q4, with revenue per visit (RPV) increasing across social channels. In 2013 Tumblr generated a 340% increase in RPV year on year, and Pinterest overtook Facebook in terms of RPV in the UK, and it’s anticipated do the same in the US in 2014.

social_engagement_type_growth social_referred_visits social_rpv_yoy

Social engagement with brand posts on Facebook rose 180% and brand post impressions are up 150% year on year. Unsurprisingly, posts with images produced a 650% higher engagement rate than regular text posts, while posts with links, text or video returned less engagement.

Additional findings include:

  • Paid Social Trends: Facebook ads are becoming increasingly attractive to brand marketers due to growing consumer engagement. Facebook’s ad click through rate (CTR) is up 365 percent YoY and Facebook cost per thousand impressions (CPMs) increased 437 percent YoY. Facebook CPCs were even YoY, with the exception of a 29 percent spike during the holiday season. Facebook ad click volume is up 125 percent YoY.
  • Owned Social Trends: RPV hit an all-time high across all social media channels, especially during the holiday season, with quarter-over-quarter (QoQ) gains for Twitter (84 percent), Pinterest (69 percent), Tumblr (38 percent) and Facebook (31 percent). While Facebook is still referring the most traffic, Pinterest overtook Facebook for referring revenue in Q4 in the UK and is expected to surpass Facebook’s RPV in the U.S. this year.
  • Earned Social Trends: Social engagement with brand posts on Facebook rose 180 percent YoY and brand post impressions are up 150 percent YoY. Brand posts with images produced a 650% higher engagement rate than regular text posts (up 10%), while posts with links, text or video yielded less engagement YoY.

Facebook revenues leap 63% in Q4, driven by solid mobile ad business

Nearing its ten year anniversary this week, Facebook has posted record revenuesof $2.59bn for the three months to 31 December, up 63% on 2012, with a 76% increase in advertising for the same quarter. Facebook said mobile advertising revenue accounted for 53% of ad revenue for the quarter, up 23% year on year.

The social network hit 1.23 billion monthly active users and has more than 556 million mobile daily active users. However Facebook refrained from commenting on the declining use of the platform amongst US teenagers.

Twitter reported revenue and profits higher than had been expected, but it’s user base continues to grow slower than company watchers had hoped

Twitter officially released its first earnings results as a publicly traded company after the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday, and the numbers were pretty good. For the fourth quarter of 2013, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said in the report that the company had its “strongest quarter to date,” ending with quarterly revenue of $243 million — up 116 percent year-over-year.

Revenue-wise, Twitter fared much better than the expected revenue of $217 million, and it posted non-GAAP earnings of $0.02 per share — a metric in which many analysts predicted a loss. The company is still not profitable, reporting a non-GAAP net loss of $34 million, but it is better than 2012′s reported loss of $49 million. But on the earnings call this evening, Costolo remained bullish about the growth of Twitter’s revenue, opening ad channels and enhancing products.

“We have only scratched the surface of what we believe Twitter can become,” Costolo said.

Twitter’s stock has been tumultuous since it tripled its IPO price immediately after hitting the trading floor on November 7. The stock climbed to nearly $75 before hovering around the $65-$66 mark — today, it closed at a slight dip of $65.97 but fell in after-hours trading.

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"Twitter monthly active users worldwide as of Q4 2013"

However, there is still a hang-up on usership. Despite Dick Costolo’s moonshot prediction one year ago that Twitter’s growth would surpass 400 million users, Twitter’s user base is growing steadily (if a bit slowly). The earnings report said Twitter now has 241 million monthly active users, an increase of just 30 percent year-over-year but a small increase from the 232 million MAUs from the third quarter of 2013. However, Costolo remained unfazed about Twitter’s slow growth, citing increased onboarding processes onto mobile, integration of rich media, and accessibility to “casual” users.

“With confidence in our ability to scale revenue, we are doubling down in 2014 to accelerate the growth of our user base,” Costolo said.

"Twitter monthly active users worldwide (percent growth) as of Q4 2013"

There is a lot of pressure for Twitter to convert its potential — and its hype — into real returns, and Q4 offered a slight assurance that it has the power to become profitable. Costolo seems to believe that the key to profitability is accessibility.

“One of our core values as a company is to reach every person on the planet, and in 2014, we’re focusing on building a product that is truly accessible to everyone,” he said.

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