Facebook’s Q4 2017 Earnings Call: What You Need to Know

Jason Hsiao


Yesterday, January 31, 2018, Facebook held their Fourth Quarter 2017 Earnings Call. You can listen to it here and read the transcript here.

The call shed some more light on some recent announcements from the social network, including their News Feed update that puts the focus on meaningful social interactions. Here are some of the highlights and what they mean for you and your business.

To start the call, Mark Zuckerberg shared, “So far this year we’ve already announced a couple of important updates.” He reiterated three:

Update #1: Prioritization of meaningful social interactions

A major theme of the earnings call was Facebook’s prioritization of meaningful social interactions. “Research shows that strengthening our relationships improves our well-being,” said Zuckerberg. Which is why the social network is doubling-down on the content that encourages people to interact with one another. We dove into the resulting News Feed update last week on our blog, exploring how News Feed content will be prioritized and why Facebook thinks this is the right move.

Update #2: Focus on broadly trusted and high-quality sources

Facebook is also making major strides toward ensuring that the news in your News Feed comes from broadly trusted and high-quality sources. “The idea is this update will show more news from sources that are broadly trusted across the community and not only by those who read them directly,” says Zuckerberg. The intent of this to prevent false news, hate speech, and abuse.

Update #3: A major ads transparency effort

Finally, Facebook has rolled out a major effort around ads transparency. “We support Congress passing legislation to make all advertising more transparent, but we’re not going to wait for them to act,” Zuckerberg shared. “We’ve already begun launching a way for anyone to view the ads a page is running on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger—even if they aren’t the intended audience.”

Important themes and what they mean for you

Read on to find out more about the highlights of the earnings call and what they mean for your business.

Less time will be spent on Facebook

Facebook expects that some of the changes they’re making will actually lead to less time spent on Facebook. As a business owner or advertiser promoting yourself on Facebook, don’t worry. This isn’t grounds for concern.

Zuckerberg shared that, “By focusing on meaningful interactions, I expect the time we all spend on Facebook will be more valuable. And I always believe that if we do the right thing and deliver deeper value, our community and our business will be stronger over the long term.”

Although people may be spending less time on Facebook, they’ll care more about the time they’re spending. And, Zuckerberg says, “When you care about something, you’re willing to see ads to experience it.”

A new era of video consumption will emerge

Facebook is ushering in a new era of video consumption—one that encourages people to interact with each other, rather than interact passively. A big part of this is a push for Facebook Live. Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed, recently stated in a News Feed FYI that “live videos on average get six times as many interactions as regular videos.” And another big part is the launch of Watch Party, which allows friends and family to watch shows together.

But what does this mean for videos in their traditional form, like the ones you create with Animoto, natively uploaded to Facebook?

Well, Zuckerberg says, “I said that video done well can bring people together, but too often today, watching video is just a passive experience. To shift that balance, I said that we were going to focus on videos that encourage meaningful social interactions.” As this shift occurs, put more emphasis on creating share-worthy content that offers value, is relevant to your audience, and inspires conversation.

There’ll be more opportunity for video advertising

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, honed in on the opportunity for small businesses that goes along with targeted advertising through Facebook Ads Manager. “Targeting makes advertising better – more relevant to people and more effective for businesses. This is especially important for small businesses as they have limited budgets and need to make every dollar count. Facebook gives small businesses the same powerful tools that were previously only available to large advertisers—so they can reach the right people at the right time.”

The good news? As Facebook invests in Facebook Watch, Facebook Live, and other products designed to foster meaningful social interactions, there will be even more opportunities to target potential customers and clients with video.

The current state of Facebook is a glimmer of what’s to come. “Over the next three years, we know video will continue to grow,” says Zuckerberg. “So our job is to build video experiences that help people connect with family, friends, and groups.”

Of course we’ll be here to update you as new developments emerge that you can advertise against with video. And in the meantime, video continues to be one of the best ways to stand out in the News Feed when targeting potential customers through Facebook ads.

Instagram is growing quickly

Finally, Sheryl Sandberg shared some stats around the growth of Instagram. “As people and businesses shift to mobile, Instagram continues to grow quickly. There are more than 2 million active advertisers on Instagram and we announced in November that more than 25 million businesses have profiles on Instagram—up from 15 million in July.”

And, even more excitingly, she shared that “Instagram is a business’s mobile visual shop, and we’re seeing more people seek out businesses there. About two-thirds of the visits to Instagram business profiles are from people who don’t follow them yet—and this is helping bring in new customers.”

Instagram is proving to be an effective channel where businesses can reach new customers. Now is the time to invest in building your presence on Instagram.

How are you feeling about all the recent Facebook updates? Share your thoughts in the comments or head over to join the conversation on our Facebook page.