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Facebook hits 1,44-bn users

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In its quarterly earnings announcement this week, Facebook revealed continued strong growth, rising to 1,44-billion monthly active users by the end of March 2015, and increasing revenue by 42% over the previous year.

Facebook’s Q1 2015 results, announced this week, showed a revenue increase of increase of 42% to $3,54-billion, compared with $2,5-billion in the first quarter of 2014. Revenue from advertising was $3,32-billion, a 46% increase from the same quarter last year. Mobile advertising revenue represented approximately 73% of advertising revenue for the first quarter of 2015.

Key numbers included:

Daily active users (DAUs) were 936 million on average for March 2015.

Mobile DAUs were 798 million on average for March 2015. Monthly active users (MAUs) were 1.44 billion as of March 31, 2015. Mobile MAUs were 1.25 billion as of March 31, 2015. More than a billion searches on mobile per day as of March 31, 2015.

During the announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg touched on Facebook’s transformation into a family of apps. Now, many of these are reaching global scale. More than 1.4 billion people use the core Facebook service, but 800 million also use WhatsApp, 700 million people use Groups and 600 million use Messenger.

On Instagram, there are more than 300 million monthly members of the community and more than 200 million daily actives.

Here are some key highlights over the quarter, as provided by Facebook:

Facebook is the largest community of sports fans in the world with 650 million people connected to a sports page. For this year’s Super Bowl, more than 65 million people generated more than 265 million interactions on Facebook, the highest level of conversation we’ve seen for a Super Bowl.

For the Cricket World Cup, there were more than 700 million interactions by 53 million people, which shows the strength of our global reach.

Video Momentum:

This quarter reached a new milestone of more than 4 billion daily video views. More than 80,000 videos have now been embedded on third party websites.

Family of Apps:

On average more than 45 billion messages are now sent daily. This quarter we started rolling out voice over IP calls on WhatsApp to let people call friends for free around the world. Messenger already accounts for more than 10% of mobile VoIP calls globally.

With Instagram, we reached a new milestone of more than 200 million daily actives. Our communities in Indonesia, Japan and South Kore have grown by more than 100% year-over-year. People spend an average 21 minutes daily on Instagram.

Long Term Innovation Efforts:

Internet.org continues to gather momentum. We’ve made free basic internet services available to more than 800 million people in 9 countries, and this quarter launched in India, Colombia, Ghana, Guatemala and the Philippines. More than 7 million people who weren’t connected before use Internet.org to get online.

Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, also highlighted the company’s focus on innovation across three strategic priorities: capitalising on the shift to mobile, growing the number of marketers using its ads products, and making its ads more relevant.

Facebook provided the following summary of its priorities:

Capitalizing on the shift to mobile

In the US, Facebook and Instagram get more than one out of every five minutes spent on mobile. New products we introduced this quarter, beneficial for marketers: The Mobile Ads Manager app gives marketers the ability to manage their ad campaigns from their mobile devices. Page creation tool for feature phones, which has been a big driver of Page adoption in high-growth emerging markets, where smartphones are less common.

Video

More than 75% of global video views on Facebook occur on mobile. Lionsgate reached young women on Instagram with multiple video ads. With the film premiering this week, Lionsgate will be retargeting that same audience from the Instagram campaign on Facebook, as well.

Growing the Number of Marketers Using Ads Products

In Q2 of last year, we shared that we reached 30 million active business Pages on Facebook. Over 80% of new advertisers start with entry-level tools like a promoted post or Page like. Recently launched two online training resources, helpful for marketer education: Blueprint for larger clients and agencies “Learn How” videos for small businesses

In Q1, Facebook announced it now had over 2 million active advertisers.

Making Ads More Relevant

Sandberg reported on the increased adoption of our targeting tools like Custom Audiences and Conversion Tracking. Adoption of targeting tools and new ad formats help make ads more relevant.

New ad formats include:

Dynamic Product Ads, which allow marketers to launch ads for different audiences. Carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram, which allow marketers to advertise for specific products.

To help marketers accurately measure the performance of their campaigns, Facebook launched Conversion Lift, a tool that scientifically measures how much additional business was driven from Facebook ads. Cellbes, a women’s fashion retailer in Europe, used Conversion Lift and discovered that ads on Facebook mobile drove sales on desktop and via phone calls to their sale representatives at a 1-800-like number.

Ad Tech

Facebook continues to invest in our ad tech platform. For example, Cheetah Mobile used native ads from the Audience Network in its apps, and is now getting more than 2X the CPMs compared to other ad networks.

At the F8 developer conference last month, Facebook made two important LiveRail announcements that will improve the relevance of ads people see across sites, apps and devices:

Extended LiveRail’s video ad platform into in-app mobile display, which will give publishers better ways to manage their ad inventory across devices:And announced that LiveRail will give publishers access to Facebook’s anonymised demographic information, enabling Facebook to serve more relevant ads to people.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZa

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