Can Facebook Live Up to the Hype?

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Facebook today announced the pricing of its IPO common stock at a price to the public of $38 per share. The shares are expected to begin trading on the NASDAQ Global Select Market on May 18, 2012, under the symbol “FB.” That values the Internet company at more than $100 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Facebook’s initial public offering is shaping up to be one of the largest in history. NPR asks, what would it take for that valuation to be justified?

As Planet Money noted, the value of a typical big, public company is 15 times the company’s annual profit. So a company valued at $30 billion would typically have annual profits of $2 billion.

Facebook will be valued at 100 times its current annual profits. That’s because investors expect the company’s profits to go through the roof in the coming years.

For Facebook to achieve that kind of growth, some combination of two things will need to happen: The company will need to add more users, and it will need to get more revenue out of each user it has. Even if Facebook grows to include nearly half the people on the planet, it will still also need to increase the amount of money it gets for each user by nearly 50 percent, concludes Planet Money.

Facebook’s app and website were accessed by nearly three-fourths of U.S. Android smartphone users in March, making it the most used social networking website and app on the Android platform, according to market research company NPD Group. Facebook is maintaining its social networking strength as the proportion of Android smartphone users accessing its mobile app and website has held steady over the past six months.

With Facebook far and away the overall market leader in social networking, Twitter is a distant second, with 23 percent and 18 percent reach in web and apps, respectively, while Google+ is struggling to find its place even among Android users with 16 percent reach in web, and fluctuating between 10 and 15 percent reach in apps for the past nine months.

Facebook users spend over 15 minutes a day, almost 470 minutes a month, using the Facebook app on their Android smartphones, says NPD. It is one of the most highly utilized activities for U.S. Android smartphone users, second only to search among mobile web activities overall and fifth among apps (behind search, webmail, maps/navigation and games).

On average, users make 7 new Facebook friends per month; they initiate 3 requests and accept 4. Women average 21 updates to their Facebook status per month while men average 6, according to a Pew Internet study.

While it’s half the time users spend on a mobile game, the fluid nature of social networking apps translates into frequent dips with Facebook users opening the app an average of 6 times per day. Facebook’s website comprised 10 percent of all page views for Android smartphone users in March, according to NPD.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Thursday, May 17th, 2012 at 10:12 am .

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