Oct. 14, 2013, 7:42 AM
- Among the Israeli mobile-app maker's products are "Count," which monitors the data used on a smartphone, as well as "Extend," which shrinks the amount of information downloaded in order to maximize one's data plan.
- "Our service helps people save money through more efficient use of data, and also helps developers, large and small, design better experiences for people,” say Onavo founders Guy Rosen and Roi Tiger in a company blog post announcing the sale.
- The purchase is in line with the goals of Facebook's (FB) Internet.org effort to deliver the Internet (and Facebook) to billions who currently don't have it.
- The purchase price is reported to be in the $150M-$200M range.
Oct. 12, 2013, 3:56 PM
- "We have 55 million photos a day posted to Instagram (FB), so exploration and discovery is the main concentration for us," says Instagram co-founder/CEO Kevin Systrom. With 150M+ active users (up 5x since the Facebook deal was announced and closing in on Twitter's reported ~240M), Instagram has evolved into a major social network in its own right.
- Interestingly, though Instagram's parent company prides itself on an algorithm-heavy approach to determining what content a user should see, Systrom suggests Instagram will lean more on human judgment and community "signals," albeit while granting "there's no one person that can figure out what you should be looking at."
- Fine-tuning Instagram for foreign audiences is also a priority, as is getting the platform integrated with more 3rd-party apps/services through its Open Platform API.
- Systrom's remarks come shortly after Instagram announced it will begin showing brand ads to U.S. users in the coming months. The company just introduced an app update that prevents users from disabling video autoplay on Wi-Fi, a move that may have been made with video ads in mind.
- Adrian Salamunovic, co-founder of an online printing startup, argues Instagram could make hundreds of millions annually by adding a print button to its apps that provides access to printing services.
Oct. 8, 2013, 11:48 AM
- With the government shutdown having reached day 8, many U.S. and Chinese Internet stocks that have seen giant 2013 gains (often with the help of momentum traders and/or short squeezes) are falling sharply.
- U.S. decliners include Facebook (FB -5.2%), Yahoo (YHOO -5.2%), Netflix (NFLX -4.7%), LinkedIn (LNKD -7%), Zillow (Z -5.3%), Trulia (TRLA -7.5%), Yelp (YELP -9.3%), Groupon (GRPN -4.9%), and Web.com (WWWW -10.2%).
- Chinese decliners include Baidu (BIDU -6.2%), Sina (SINA -7.5%), YY (YY -7.3%), Sohu (SOHU -5.1%), Renren (RENN -9.2%), Youku (YOKU -9.6%), Vipshop (VIPS -6.9%), and Dangdang (DANG -10.7%).
- A chart of the YTD performance of some key names speaks for itself.
Oct. 7, 2013, 7:49 AM
- RayJay's Aaron Kessler - who banged the drum for Facebook (FB) with an upgrade to Buy in January and an upgrade to Strong Buy in April (at prices well south of today's) - cuts his rating back to Buy following the big run in the stock price.
- Kessler says his bullish thesis on the company is playing out as expected, but today's high valuation merits the downgrade.
- Shares off 1.2% premarket.
Oct. 4, 2013, 1:46 PM
- Facebook (FB +3.6%) has rallied back above $50 following a Thursday afternoon that saw Instagram announce brand ads are coming and Twitter file its public S-1. Bullish notes from Sterne Agee and William Blair could be helping out.
- Sterne's Arvind Bhatia, who has been bullish on Facebook since its pre-IPO days, has raised his PT to $58 from $50 to account for Instagram's ad launch and "better-than-expected ongoing trends." His target equals a lofty 20x multiple on 2015E adjusted EBITDA of $6.8B (raised from a prior $6.3B).
- Blair's Ralph Schackart joins analysts at Goldman and Raymond James in reporting Facebook advertiser talks were encouraging.
Oct. 3, 2013, 11:10 PM
- Instagram (FB), ad-free thus far, says it will begin showing U.S. users "an occasional ad" in their feeds in the next couple of months. The ads will involve photos and videos, and come from brands a given user doesn't follow.
- Instagram: "Our aim is to make any advertisements you see feel as natural to Instagram as the photos and videos many of you already enjoy from your favorite brands ... If you see an ad you don’t like, you’ll be able to hide it and provide feedback."
- Facebook has promised Instagram, already used as a promotional tool by many top brands, will see ads in time, but has also suggested it will take a cautious approach. Observers have pointed out the 15-second length of Instagram videos matches that of short TV ads.
- Separately, Facebook is adding support for Instagram, Flickr, Pinterest, and Tumblr photos to its Home Android UI, which has seen a bumpier debut than the company expected. Mark Zuckerberg recently stated Home would begin integrating content from 3rd-party social networks. No word yet on when feed updates from the likes of Twitter, LinkedIn, and Tumblr will be added.
- Facebook finished AH trading up 0.8% following the Instagram news and Twitter's public S-1 filing.
Oct. 3, 2013, 11:00 PM
- Twitter released its anticipated public S-1 this afternoon. The company is looking to raise $1B (that figure could rise in time), and list under the symbol TWTR. Underwriters include Goldman (the lead), Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, BofA/Merrill, and Deutsche.
- Twitter had 1H revenue of $253.6M (+107% Y/Y), and a net loss for the period of $69.5M. Ads accounted for $221.4M of 1H revenue, and data licensing the rest. Costs/expenses surged 87% to $316.5M, with R&D spend rising 142% to $111.8M (44% of revenue). With 2012 revenue having totaled $316.9M (+198%), 2013 sales should be north of $500M, and perhaps $600M.
- The company had 218.3M monthly active users (MAUs) as of June 30, +44% Y/Y. Only 49M of them are in the U.S. Daily active users (DAUs) are north of 100M. AllThingsD reported in September MAUs are up to ~240M, and that Twitter is falling short of a year-end target of 400M. The company sees 500M+ tweets/day.
- 150.9B timeline views were handled in Q2, +69% Y/Y. Timeline views/MAU rose 17% (higher engagement). The company estimates false/spam accounts make up 5% of MAUs. As of June 30, 75% of MAUs (164M) accessed Twitter using a mobile device, and 65% of ad revenue came from mobile.
- By comparison, Facebook (FB) has 1H revenue of $3.27B, of which ad revenue made up $2.85B. The company had 1.15B MAUs at the end of Q2 (+21%), 699M DAUs, and 819M mobile MAUs. Mobile made up 41% of Q2 ad revenue. Facebook's 2013 revenue consensus is at $7.37B.
- GSVC +3.7% AH in response to the filing. SVVC +1.5%.
Oct. 3, 2013, 11:18 AM
- Add residential real estate to the list of fields Facebook (FB -1%) is dabbling in: the social networking giant is spending $120M to build a 394-unit housing complex near its Menlo Park, CA HQ. The WSJ states the complex, known as Anton Menlo, will "include everything from a sports bar to a doggy day care."
- Though Facebook's main goal is to address the housing needs of its workers, the apartments will go for market rates, and all but 15 will be open to non-Facebook employees. The initiative comes as Facebook builds a new wing to its HQ with the help of architect Frank Gehry.
- Meanwhile, Pivotal Research is going contrarian on Facebook, cutting shares to Hold following a 90% run-up since July 24 (the day of the Q2 report). Analyst Brian Wiesner notes shares have passed his $48 PT, and thinks they could sell off following the Q3 report (due Oct. 30) "if expectations begin to circularly run further ahead of themselves."
- Plenty of firms have upgraded Facebook, or launched coverage with bullish ratings, since the Q2 report.
Oct. 2, 2013, 4:50 PM
- Janrain, a provider of user ID management services, estimates Facebook (FB) accounts for 45% of all logins on 3rd-party sites/apps that involve an outside "identity provider," and Google (GOOG) 33%. Yahoo and Twitter are tied for #3 at a mere 7% apiece.
- Facebook's login share surged from 2010-2012, partly at Google's expense, and peaked in Q3 of last year at 54%. Google, which bottomed at 33% that quarter, has made up some ground since then. The company's efforts to promote Google+ sign-ins are a key reason.
- In addition to keeping users logged in to a site/platform, login services help drive the sharing of content from the sites/apps that rely on them, and give service providers user activity data that can be used for ad targeting.
- The report comes as Facebook attempts to grow its login count by striking a public Wi-Fi partnership with Cisco. The companies will provide free Wi-Fi to retailers, hotels, and other businesses ... but users will have to log in with a Facebook ID first.
Oct. 1, 2013, 5:40 PM
- Facebook (FB) has updated its app install ad product to give developers the ability to send reminder ads within Facebook's apps to users who have rarely opened a downloaded app. The ad might feature a prompt such as "Watch Video" that opens up an app when clicked.
- Facebook also discloses its app install ads have now driven 145M downloads; that suggests the download rate has grown quickly from the 25M reported for Q1. 8.4K developers used the ads in Q2.
- Meanwhile, Google (GOOG), which is increasingly competing with Facebook in the online and mobile ad realms (both directly and indirectly), has launched Estimated Total Conversions, a measurement tool for its core AdWords search ad platform that uses Google login data to track ad conversions across devices.
- Google says a travel ad test for the tool led to an 8% increase in tracked conversions, and a 33% increase "conversions that originated on a mobile phone and later converted on different device." Thus, like Enhanced Campaigns, the product aims to integrate PC and mobile advertising, and in doing so lift mobile ad rates.
- BI observes Facebook rolled out a cross-device conversion tracking tool in January. The company is also relying on the purchase of Microsoft's Atlas unit to improve ad measurement.
Oct. 1, 2013, 12:00 PM
- Facebook (FB +0.3%) has hired David Lawenda, formerly Univision's ad sales chief, to head its U.S. ad sales efforts. The hiring comes two months after North American ad sales chief and 7-year Facebook vet Tom Arrix left, and a day after Flurry announced it has hired top Facebook ad strategy exec Grady Burnett to be its COO.
- North America accounted for 47% of Facebook's Q2 revenue ($848M out of $1.81B).
- News of the hiring comes as Facebook expands Graph Search's reach to include status updates, comments, and photo captions, and check-in info shared with a particular user. Until now, Graph Search (made available this summer to all U.S. users) was focused on profile data and user "likes."
- If users take a liking to Graph Search, it could provide a large boost to Facebook's search ad revenue, particularly given the ad targeting possibilities for business/product-related searches. But it remains to be seen how interested users will be in performing the kind of complex, multi-part queries Graph Search enables.
Sep. 30, 2013, 2:05 PM
- Grady Burnett, Facebook's (FB -0.9%) VP of Global Marketing Solutions for the last 4+ years, has left the company to become the COO of hot mobile ad-serving/analytics startup Flurry. Burnett helped craft Facebook's ad strategy, and was an exec at Google's DoubleClick unit before joining the social networking kingpin. (PR)
- Facebook has already seen plenty of executive departures this year, including several involving ad execs. EMEA director Christian Hernandez and North American sales chief Tom Arrix left in July, and ad product chief Gokul Rajaram left in June.
- Separately, Facebook says it will start providing NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox (along with a few smaller partners) weekly reports of Facebook commentary about their shows, in an effort to get the broadcasters to increase their engagement. The move follows the launch of new APIs meant to give media companies a quick birds-eye view of trending topics and public content.
Sep. 27, 2013, 2:41 PM
- Nine months after ending a test for a mobile ad network that would deliver display ads on 3rd-party sites/apps based on a user's Facebook (FB +0.9%) activity, Facebook has begun new tests.
- The move comes shortly after Twitter bought mobile ad network MoPub for a reported $350M. If Facebook does a full launch, its network will put it into competition with Google's AdMob (the market leader), Apple's iAd, and Millennial Media (MM -1.7%), which is merging with rival Jumptap.
- Separately, Facebook ad sales chief Carolyn Everson says Facebook is making further efforts to simplify its mobile ad offerings (previous), and needs to do more work to improve ad measurement. The purchase of Microsoft's Atlas ad-serving platform helps on that front; so might a reportedly pending Nielsen deal.
- Also: Facebook has updated its news feed ad-placement algorithm to take into account marketer feedback on whom they'd like to target, and user feedback on what ads are relevant (or not).
- Facebook's mobile ad sales, for now stemming only from the company's own site and apps, rose 75% Q/Q in Q2 to $656M, and made up 41% of total revenue.
Sep. 26, 2013, 2:08 PM
- With analysts continuing to jump over each other to provide bullish commentary for the social networking giants, Facebook (FB +1.9%) has crossed $50 for the first time, and LinkedIn (LNKD +3.1%) is drawing closer to its all-time high of $257.56.
- Goldman's Heather Bellini has raised her Facebook PT to $58 from $52. She says talks at this week's AdWeek 2013 conference suggest "positive sentiment by attendees toward Facebook's ad products, the successful case studies the company's advertisers presented, and the company's increasing commitment to serving advertisers' needs."
- Jefferies' Brian Pitz has raised his Facebook PT all the way to $60 from $37, while arguing there's still plenty of room for Facebook to grow its adjusted op. margin from a current 44%.
- Wunderlich's Blake T. Harper has raised his LinkedIn PT to $280 from $250 (matching Evercore's recent move). He predicts LinkedIn's Talent Solutions (jobs) business will beat expectations again in Q3, thanks to strong job listings growth, price hikes, and growing engagement.
- Talent Solutions made up 56% of LinkedIn's Q2 revenue, and saw 69% Y/Y sales growth.
Sep. 25, 2013, 7:31 PM
- A week after giving its core iOS apps an iOS 7-centric update, Facebook (FB) has done the same for Instagram's apps. In-line with iOS 7's design themes, the app now has a "flatter," more streamlined look, and also gives more screen space to pictures.
- Separately, an analysis from The Next Web and research firm TrackMaven found 123 Fortune 500 companies now have Instagram accounts, and that 85 actively posted content over the last 30 days. Instagram ads are expected next year.
- Bloomberg reports Facebook is set to announce a mobile measurement deal with Nielsen (NLSN). The deal will reportedly allow advertisers to measure mobile audiences in a manner similar to TV audiences.
- Facebook has made a priority out of giving advertisers better data about its users' Facebook and non-Facebook activity (even if some privacy advocates aren't thrilled).
Sep. 25, 2013, 9:17 AM
- Facebook (FB) has been started at Buy by Canaccord. Plenty of others on the sell-side have already turned bullish since the July 24 Q2 report. Shares +1.6% premarket.
- Silver Spring (SSNI) has been upgraded to Buy by Goldman. Shares +7.1%.
- Ctrip (CTRP) has been upgraded to Buy by Deutsche. Shares +5.5%.
- Infosys (INFY) has been upgraded to Outperform by Baird. Shares +1.1%.
- Skyworks (SWKS) and Semtech (SMTC) have been cut to Neutral by B. Riley. SWKS -0.7%.
- Cypress (CY) has been cut to Neutral by Wedbush a day after issuing a Q3/Q4 warning and getting downgraded by Needham.
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