The PC is now obsolete. One of IBM's (IBM) primary designers says he chucked his PC in favor of a tablet because he believes that "the PC is going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs." The feeling is mutual, at Facebook (FB).
The tablet PC, in recent memory, has made a profound influence on the tech space noting that many PC owners right now are considering owning an iPad over the traditional desktop model, which is placing tremendous pressure on Microsoft (MSFT) as it preps Windows 8 and Windows on ARM for release on its future tablet sales. Facebook is now seeking to enter the mobile advertising space and capitalize on the tremendous opportunity that lies ahead for the favored social network company.
Facebook does not need to build a $3 billion mobile ad business overnight and Facebook is not losing money on mobile today. Mobile phones and devices outnumber TV sets on a tech ratio of 3:1, outnumber PC based Internet users by 4:1, and outnumber the total laptop and desktop PC population by 5:1 as this has motivated many business advertisers in many different markets to rush into the mobile advertising space.
Facebook's total revenue in 2011 was $3.7 billion, of which $3.1 billion came from the online advertising space. EMarketer principal analyst Noah Elkin points out to Bloomberg Businessweek that 90% of Facebook's user base is crossing over between mobile and desktop platforms meaning that Facebook is generating ad revenue for the company one way or the other.
Elkin confirms that Facebook users are not able to physically see any ads when they access the social network from their mobile phones at the moment, but the ads are still there as these ads are certainly accessible when logging onto the social network from a functioning web browser or a PC desktop. Another reason noted in Businessweek as to why consumers remain active and loyal to Facebook is being able to own the added flexibility to network socially from anywhere, so the contrarian argument for mobile driving away ad views is just not coherent.
Businesses generated more than $39 billion from mobile content marketing in 2011. A report from PQ Media has found that this figure represents 27.8% growth from 2010 as revenue is said to continue its uptrend through 2012. The rapid increase in the mobile market has turned marketing into a competitive necessity as more and more consumers begin accessing web content from mobile devices.
Another important stream of revenue for Facebook could stem from content marketing in the future, as incorporating the business concept of content as part of a mass web marketing strategy provides a balance for many Internet companies by supporting their dominance within their niche as less corporate and more consumer oriented. A more recent Google study also showed that 69% of smart phone users access the mobile web everyday. Right now, with 80% of desktop web users stating they access the Internet everyday from a terminal, the PC is still the number one access point. However, mobile is quickly closing that gap as the growth of the smart phone and tablet PC market sets a new reality for the tech world, while declining PC sales continue to burden companies like Microsoft and IBM to adapt to mobile.
The U.S. Mobile and Social Media Forecast for 2012-2016 has now estimated total mobile and social media revenues increased 30.2% to $45.38 billion in 2011, growing at an annual compounded growth rate of 28.7% since 2006. The U.S. Mobile and Social Media Forecast for 2012-2016 has also highlighted for investors in this space that revenues are expected to exceed $100 billion by 2015, the fastest any communications industry has ever surpassed the benchmark (12 years), even outpacing subscription TV and the internet by nearly 20 years.
Facebook is now set to become a pioneer as well as the next Fortune 500 company to implement horizontal telecommunication convergence as the default standard for communication, as the convergence culture is an important factor in transmedia navigation. The convergence culture is considered to be a trend for the flow of content across multiple media platforms, the cooperation between multiple media industries, and the migratory behavior of media audiences who will almost go anywhere in search of the kinds of entertainment experiences they want.
The social media space is set to continue to grow at an astronomical pace as all these factors laid out above stabilize and ramp up investor confidence in Facebook, as a public company. Facebook's initial public offering was a bit of a disappointment for the investor community, but that should never stop any trader short of understanding the entirety of the vision behind Facebook.
Money managers on Wall Street are beginning to rally behind the notion that Facebook will not live up to its immediate ROI expectations and day-traders are now clearing out of the space. But, what short-term investors are giving up in Facebook right now is exactly why every growth investor has decided to stay long in the space.
The growth investor is said to have found the holy grail of Silicon Valley. Facebook is a longer-term investment play with unlimited revenue/growth potential and a lasting market penetration platform that is concrete and will help grow business on the web, as well as across all other communication platforms. Facebook at the moment is a screaming buy for people who are not worried about daily chart moves on the stock and making a quick buck pumping and dumping this stock intraday. Nevermind the P/E ratio on Facebook at the moment either as the PC market will sooner or later drop off the tech map completely and Facebook will fundamentally get cheaper and cheaper, and cheaper.
Disclosure: I am long FB.