IE Focus | By Dr. Ricardo Perez, Professor at IE Business School
Facebook’s decision to float the company on the stock market has revealed the true figures of this internet giant, and has left quite a few questions unanswered, particularly where advertising is concerned.At last we have some real information rather than just rumors about Facebook’s business figures. Allow me to put things into context with some of the key data. In 2011, $3,200 million in revenues and $1,000 profit. Many analysts expected to see figures over 4,000 million and say they are surprised. Some say that facebook’s revenues have not grown as fast as they should (over 80%), while others complain that net margins are also going down (still at 25%). However all have a positive opinion about the almost 4,000 million that the company has to invest in order to keep growing.
But after examining all these figures there are more questions than answers about Facebook’s future. Let’s take a look at these questions and the challenges they pose for the firm.
How scalable is the advertising business as it stands today? Growth in the advertising sector has decelerated. Adverts that appear on the right-hand side of the screen (I have just counted seven on my personal page) are not relevant in the majority of cases. Hence they are of little value from the point of view of the advertiser. In spite of the fact that they changed their policy at the end of last year, attempting to raise prices and quality, they did not get the desired results. The challenge lies in finding a better formula for using the information available to customers and convert it into a more focused form of advertising.Details