Social Media Q4 2018 Earnings - Key stats for marketers

James Mortimer

Paid Social Director

In February every year, publicly-traded digital media brands release user and growth stats on how their products performed during Q4 – the highest-demand advertising period.

We’ve condensed the masses of information, picking out the most interesting facts and statistics for marketers to help inform your social media planning.

Facebook & Instagram

Despite Facebook’s well-publicised PR disasters over the last 12 months, the platform has continued to grow from both user-engagement and revenue perspectives.

Overall revenue (generated from advertisers) increased by a whopping 30% to $16.9 billion, proving that advertisers aren’t afraid to invest in the platform despite the issues over the last year.

2.7 billion people now use Facebook’s family of apps every month. Interestingly, CFO David Wehner, noted that the company will soon stop sharing Facebook-only stats, potentially to play down the fact that younger users are interacting with the platform less.

Instagram Stories now has 500 million daily active users, with over 2 million advertisers running Story ads. Overall revenue generated from mobile increased to 93% compared to 89% in Q3.

Looking to the future, Zuckerberg said that commerce on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp continues to be a priority for them in 2019, and something that he sees as a big opportunity for growth. From a brand perspective, the concept of selling products directly through the platforms should be appealing, as it will make the purchase process much simpler for users. And smaller brands are likely to be able to scale their businesses quicker if they can go from discovery to purchase inside Facebook’s apps.

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Over the last year, Twitter focused on trying to make its product a lot more appealing to advertisers, and it appears that this has paid off with 24% year on year revenue growth. However, this growth was generated from a smaller overall audience, with monthly active users now down to 321 million – a year on year drop of nine million.

In a similar fashion to Facebook, Twitter announced that after the next quarter it will stop announcing its number of monthly active users – a statistic that’s often led to scrutiny from Wall Street in the past.

Twitter credited its revenue growth to the performance of their video ad products, which accounted for half of the growth in 2018.

Looking back over 2018, the company announced that there was a drop of 16% in abuse reports compared to the year before, potentially showing that Twitter is becoming a safer environment for brands to advertise in.

Moving into this year, Twitter said it will focus on developing better ad relevance with users to help advertisers spend go further on the platform. Twitter also noted that user and brand safety continues to be a top priority for 2019.

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 The highlight from Snapchat’s announcement was that the platform stopped losing users in Q4, keeping its user base flat at 186 million. Over the last few months Snap has been realigning its approach to advertising and has put together a competitive offering for agencies and brands. This new approach seems to be working, as Snap announced that advertising revenue increased to $390M – up 36% year on year.

Snap claims that it’s now reaching 70% of US-based 13 to 34-year-olds, with premium mobile video ads. This makes the platform a real competitor to the Facebook and Google duopoly for reaching younger users in America. For European-based advertisers, Snap had more good news. Although overall user growth was flat, in Europe it increased by one million users to 60 million.

Although Snap’s overall figures might not have inspired investors (the stock dropped dramatically after these results were announced), they show advertisers that there is now a real opportunity outside of the duopoly to reach younger users on mobile with premium video inventory.

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