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For Social Networks Like Facebook, Mobile Networks Really Matter

By Dennis Jones

How Social Needs Wi-Fi

Facebook just keeps on turning profits, while consistently growing its user base. Last quarter proved no exception. The social networking giant reported revenues a shade over $7 billion and quarterly profits of $2.38 billion, the triple of what they were last year. Like always, the real story were ad revenues, the cornerstone of Facebook’s business model. And they were no less impressive at $6.8 billion. Even more staggering, if possible, were the percentage of those revenues which came from mobile: a full 84 percent. Now that’s nothing short of astounding.

Imagine, if you can, that only back in 2013, ad revenues from mobile and ad revenues from desktop were almost on par, since then mobile has simply soared, eclipsing desktop. As a side note: a lot of big carriers are looking at the surge in mobile ad revenues and simply salivating at the opportunities to make ad dollars out of their content offerings.

This increase in mobile ad revenues not only speaks to how people are accessing Facebook; a full 90 percent of Facebook’s daily users access the social network via mobile. But it also speaks to the quality of mobile networks that people are using to access Facebook. And those mobile networks have vastly improved, as Mark Zuckerberg himself acknowledged during his quarterly earnings call:

“So if you think about what is enabling video to become huge right now, it’s that fundamentally the mobile networks are getting to a point where a large enough (number of) people around the world can have a good experience watching a video. If you go back a few years and you tried to load a video in News Feed, it might have to buffer for 30 seconds before you watched it, which wasn’t a good enough experience for that to be the primary way that people shared. But now it loads instantly. You can take a video and upload it without having to take five minutes to do that, so it’s a good experience.”

Given the vastly enhanced user experience that mobile networks afford, it’s no surprise that Facebook is going whole hog on video. Facebook users are broadcasting significantly more live video content. In turn, Facebook is looking to add more video features into the app.