Facebook的镜头

虽然我上周度假时大部分时间没有插电,但Facebook的盈利报告令人失望以及随后的股价下跌 -美国任何一家公司亏损最大的一天股票市场历史188年——我忍不住插嘴足球比分直播网:

我后悔推特略,不仅因为“钟鸣在188足球比分直播网”总是有风险的回到Stratechery开始的时候我写了第一个帖子that one of the topics I looked forward to exploring was “Why Wall Street is not completely insane”; I was thinking at the time about Apple, a company that, especially at that time, was regularly posting eye-popping revenue and profit numbers that did not necessarily lead to corresponding increases in the stock price, much to the consternation of Apple shareholdersThe underlying point should be an obvious one: a stock price is about future earnings, not already realized ones; that the iPhone maker had just had a great quarter was an important signal about the future, but not a determinant factor, and that those pointing to the past to complain about a price predicated on the future were missing the point.

当然这正是我在推特。

但值得注意的是,虽然这些苹果股东的明确推理可能是可疑的,但他们的情绪已被证明是正确的:2013年4月Apple报道quarterly revenue of $43.6 billion and profit of $9.5 billion, and the day I started Stratechery the stock price was $63.25; five years laterApple报道季度收入为611亿美元,利润为138亿美元,周五股价为190.98美元。

要明确的是,我一直同意苹果投资者的观点:我早期的几篇文章 -苹果黑天鹅,两个熊,尤其如此Clayton Christensen错了什么- 关于说明苹果公司的业务比大多数人意识到的更加可持续发展,并且可持续性和防御性比任何一个季度的结果更重要。

The question is if a similar case can be made for Facebook: certainly my tweet taken literally was naive for the exact reasons those Apple investor complaints missed the point five years ago; what about the sentiment, though? Just how good of a business is Facebook?

与许多这样的事情一样,这一切都取决于你用什么镜头来检查这个问题。

镜头1:Facebook的财务状况

与收益通常就是这样,在Facebook的股票只有一下结果,很多对未来的期望On Wednesday, Facebook’s stock closed at $217, but then its earnings showed revenue of $13.2 billion, slightly below Wall Street’s expectations; unsurprisingly, the stock slid about 8% in after-hours trading to around $200两条评论激发了真正的下跌在收益电话会议上来自Facebook首席财务官Dave Wehner关于Facebook未来的期望。

首先,关于收入:

Turning now to the revenue outlook; our total revenue growth rate decelerated approximately 7 percentage points in Q2 compared to Q1我们的总收入增长率将在2018年下半年继续减速,我们预计第三季度和第四季度的收入增长率将比前几个季度的高个位数下降。

第二,关于营业利润率:

Turning now to expenses; we continue to expect that full-year 2018 total expenses will grow in the range of 50% to 60% compared to last year…Looking beyond 2018, we anticipate that total expense growth will exceed revenue growth in 2019在接下来的几年中,我们预计我们的营业利润率将以百分比的形式趋向30年代中期。

From a purely financial perspective, both pieces of news are are less than ideal but at least understandableIn terms of revenue, Facebook’s growth is from a very large base, which means that this quarter’s 42% year-over-year revenue growth to $13.2 billion from $9.3 billion is, in absolute terms, 36% greater than the year ago’s 45% revenue growth (from $6.4 billion)To put it in simpler terms, massive growth rates inevitably decline even as massive absolute growth remains; as a point of comparison, Google in the same relative timeframe (14 years after incorporation) grew 35 percent to $12.21 billion (i.eFacebook是更好的在两个指标)。

营业利润率下降,在一个正常的公司——即一个边际成本 - 收入减少不一定会导致保证金有意义的下降,因为减少产品销售意味着降低销售成本Facebook,当然,不是一个正常的公司:唯一的边际成本的广告销售信用卡费用;像大多数科技公司一样the vast majority of costs are “below the line” (mostly in Research & Development, but also Sales & Marketing and General & Administrative); it follows, then, that a decrease in revenue growth would, absent an explicit effort to decrease unrelated (to revenue) expense growth, lead to lower operating margins.

In fact, Facebook is not only not decreasing expenses, they are going in the opposite direction; expenses are growing faster than ever, even as revenue growth clearly fell off:

即使费用增长增加,Facebook的收入增长也在减少

I suspect it is this chart, more than anything else, that explains the drop in Facebook’s stock price: it’s not one thing or the other; it is both revenue growth slowing and expenses accelerating at the same time, with all indications from management are that the trends will continue.

Again, relatively speaking Facebook is in great shape financially — I already noted the company had better revenue and growth numbers than Google at a similar point, and their operating margins are substantially better as well — but there’s no question this is a pretty substantial shift in the company’s longterm outlook金融镜头仍然提供了一个非常积极的看法,但它确实是比以前更积极。

镜头2:Facebook的产品

关于Facebook的写作总是有点混乱,因为Facebook公司和Facebook都是产品,毫无疑问,多年来,最大量的消极性一直围绕着后者。To that end, it is tempting to conflate the two; for example, the New York Times wrote in an article headlinedFacebook开始为丑闻付出代价:

近两年来,尽管有一系列关于滥用其庞大社交网络的丑闻,但Facebook已经出现了防弹措施但硅谷公司的条纹周三结束的时候说的积累问题已开始损害其数十亿美元的业务,成本将继续上演数月。

This is true as far as it goes, particular when it comes to expenses: Facebook is on pace to increase its security and content review teams to 20,000 people, a three-fold increase in 18 months; that is why CEO Mark Zuckerberg警告称,在去年的财报电话会议:

我指示我们的团队在我们正在进行的其他投资之上投入大量资金进行投资,这将极大地影响我们未来的盈利能力,我希望我们的投资者直接从我这里听到我相信这会使我们的社会更加强大,这样做对我们所有人来说都是长期的好事但我想明确我们的优先事项保护我们的社区比最大化利润更重要。

什么是不那么清楚的是什么效果,如果有的话,Facebook的争议有顶部行吗多年来有三个因素使Facebook在收入增长方面成为一个怪物:

  • 用户数量在增加
  • 广告加载(新闻Feed中显示的广告数量)正在增加
  • 每次广告的价格都在上涨

A year ago, though, Facebook stopped increasing ad load; as我有记录这确实导致每个广告支付的价格更加急剧增加,但它仍然是增长的阻碍因素。

然后,在过去一年中,Facebook的用户增长开始放缓,并且在利润最高的北美地区,已经有效稳定That, though, isn’t because of Facebook’s controversies: it is because the app has run out of people! The company has 241 million monthly active users in the US & Canada, 65% of the total population of 372 million (including children who aren’t supposed to have accounts before the age of 13).

考虑到几乎完全渗透的程度,在评估Facebook的健康状况时更重要的是没有迹象表明该公司正在失去用户Sure, the numbers in North America decreased by a million in Q4 2017, but now that million is back; I expect something similar when it comes to the million users the company lost in Europe when it required affirmative consent from users to continue using the app because of GDPR.

The fact of the matter is that nothing has happened to diminish Facebook’s moat when it comes to attracting and retaining users: the number one feature of a social network is how many people are on it, and for all intents and purposes everyone is on Facebook — whether they like it or not.

有趣的是,Facebook正在进一步深化,护城河的关注群体扎克伯格在财报电话会议上说:

在Facebook上有超过2亿人成为有意义的团体成员,这些社区在加入后,成为Facebook体验中最重要的部分,也是现实世界社交基础设施的重要组成部分。这些是新父母,稀有疾病患者,志愿者,部署到新基地的军人家庭等等的团体。

我们相信Facebook上的每个人都有一个社区这些有意义的社区经常在线和离线消费,并将人们聚集在一起我们发现每个伟大的社区都有一位敬业的领导者但是经营一个团队可能会花费很多时间所以我们有一个路线图,以使这更容易这将使更有意义的团体形成,这将有助于我们找到相关的建议,并最终实现我们的五年目标,帮助10亿人成为有意义的社区的一部分。

扎克伯格指的是他2017年的宣言建立一个全球社区; it is a particularly attractive goal from Facebook’s perspective because it makes the product stickier than ever.

所有这一切,通过该公司产品的镜头观看Facebook的最重要原因是Facebook的应用程序的庞大规模使得很容易失去其他产品的仍然可观的增长潜力的网站特别是Instagram最近通过了10亿用户, which is an incredible number that is still less than half of Facebook the app’s total users; by definition Instagram has reached less than half of its addressable market.

此外,Instagram不仅没有被Facebook的争议所触及,它是如此引人注目的产品,有趣地说,大多数“Facebook-nevers”或“Facebook-quitters”乐意承认每天使用该服务该应用程序还没有达到其货币化潜力:虽然Feed具有与Facebook相同的广告负载,但是SnapChat-inspired故事格式that has exploded in usage has barely been monetized; in fact, Facebook’s executives attributed some of the company’s slowing revenue growth to increased Stories usage (instead of the feed)从纯粹的金融的角度来看这是一个引起人们的关注,但从战略角度来看,这意味着Instagram以前在一个更有利的位置记住,收入和利润是滞后指标,Instagram的故事是一个极端的例子的爆炸原因是要牢记这样一个重要的事实。

WhatsApp也越来越引人注目:不仅应用程序仍然是世界上大部分地区的主要通信媒介,而且添加WhatsApp状态更新和故事大大提高了服务的货币化潜力 - 这是Facebook甚至没有开始意识到的潜力。1

在产品方面存在一定程度的长期风险:Facebook同时收购了Instagram和WhatsApp,但该公司不应该允许获得另一个与这两个相似的规模和速度的社交网络,我怀疑它们会是什么然而,这种担忧在未来很遥远:目前产品镜头表明Facebook与以往一样强大。

镜头3:Facebook的广告基础设施

This lens takes the exact opposite perspective of Lens 2; looking at the company from a product perspective shows four different apps, but looking at the company from an advertising perspective shows a single integrated machine.

这是Facebook高管涉及多次在上周的财报电话会议这里是韦娜(我特别强调):

In terms of Facebook versus Instagram, they’re obviously both contributing to revenue growthInstagram正在快速增长,并为增长做出越来越大的贡献我们一直满意Instagram如何增长。Facebook和Instagram实际上是一个广告生态系统。

扎克伯格:

我们也正在将故事发展成一种优秀的广告形式我们在Instagram上取得了最大的进步,但本季度,我们开始在Facebook上测试Stories广告......

首席运营官Sheryl Sandberg补充道:

由于我们有很多不同的地方,你在Instagram和WhatsApp和Facebook都有Stories格式,随着机会量的增加,广告商会对此感兴趣。

扎克伯格和桑德伯格显然是讨论潜在的广告故事,但这可能是一个简单的重复与饲料广告已经发生:Facebook花了数年时间构建新闻广告,而不是简单地显示和定位技术,但也为广告商整个后端设备,联系其数据源和销售点,与广告买家的关系等,然后简单地插入Instagram到基础设施。

这种综合方法的回报不容小觑Instagram得规模的盈利年速度比他们会对自己的,即使最初的产品团队专注于用户体验的自由Facebook的应用程序也受益,因为Instagram增加了Facebook广告活动的表面积,即使它增加了Facebook的定位能力。

但最大的影响是潜在的竞争很有可能专注于“投资回报率”中的“R” - 投资回报 - 正如我刚才注意到的Instagram + Facebook使其更具吸引力Just as important, though, is the “I”; there is tremendous benefit to being a one-stop shop for advertisers, who can save time and money by focusing their spend on Facebook这些工具很熟悉,购买是跨平台进行的,正如扎克伯格和桑德伯格提到的关于Stories一样,广告本身只需要制作一次就可以在多个平台上使用Why even go to the trouble to advertise anywhere else?

这就是为什么广告镜头时可能是最有用的理解是多么的Facebook的业务仍然强劲,特别是为什么Instagram收购是一个大问题所有的讨论Facebook应用程序的锁定,非常合理的怀疑订婚是降低随着时间的推移,特别是在年轻人中间,或者争议可能会降低使用-或者更糟Were Instagram a separate company, advertisers might find themselves with no choice but to spread out their advertising to multiple companies, and once their advertising was diversified, it would be a much smaller step to target users on other networks like SnapChat or 188足球比分直播网无论Facebook的应用程序发生什么,现在都没有理由让Facebook成为广告平台。

镜头4:Facebook的倍增护城河

Facebook的广告护城河可能是最重要的,它的网络最强大,但该公司实际上增加了护城河,特别是在去年。

The first is GDPR; this may seem counter-intuitive, given that Facebook said last week the regulation cost them a million users, and that one of the factors that would hurt revenue growth was the increased controls the company was giving users when it comes to controlling their personal information但请记住,GDPR适用于所有人,而不仅仅是Facebook,正如Sandberg在电话会议上所说的那样(我特别强调):

广告商仍在适应变化,因此现在知道长期影响还为时过早And things like GDPR and other privacy changes that may happen from us or may happen with regulation could make ads more relevant我们知道不会改变的一件事是,广告商总是在寻找最高的投资回报率机会和赢得预算最重要的是我们在行业中的相对表现,我们相信我们会继续做得很好。

我做了这个确切点以前:

While GDPR advocates have pointed to the lobbying Google and Facebook have done against the law as evidence that it will be effective, that is to completely miss the point: of course neither company wants to incur the costs entailed in such significant regulation, which will absolutely restrict the amount of information they can collect遗漏的是,数字广告的增长是一个长期趋势,首先是眼球:在手机上花费的时间越来越多,广告收入将不可避免地随之而来The calculation that matters, then, is not how much Google or Facebook are hurt in isolation, but how much they are hurt relatively to their competitors, and the obvious answer is “a lot less”, which, in the context of that secular increase, means growth.

Secondly, all of those costs that Facebook are incurring for security and content review that are reducing operating margin? Perhaps the stock market would feel better if they were characterized as moat expansion, because that’s exactly what they are: any would-be Facebook competitor is going to have to make a similar investment, and do it from a dramatically lower revenue base.

此外,正如Facebook通过将其广告基础架构扩展到其所有产品而受益,它也可以通过其安全措施来做同样的事情扎克伯格说:

More broadly, our strategy is to use Facebook’s computing infrastructure, business platforms and security systems to serve people across all of our apps…We’re using AI systems in our global community operations team to fight spam, harassment, hate speech, and terrorism across all of our apps to keep people safe这对于像WhatsApp和Instagram这样的应用来说非常有用,因为它可以帮助我们更有效地应对超高速增长的挑战。

This is why the lens with which you view Facebook matters so much: the exact same set of facts viewed from a financial perspective are a clear negative; from a moat perspective they are a clear positive.

镜头5:Facebook的Raison D'être

毋庸置疑,一旦你通过财务视角看待Facebook,企业的健康状况就难以与之争辩(坦率地说,财务从现象到梦幻,但它都是相对的)这就是为什么我不禁怀疑有一些更基本的东西Facebook的股票暴跌和一般庆祝。

To return to the early years of Stratechery, it was striking how widespread Facebook skepticism was; I first tried to argue otherwise五年前的今天,并在2015年感到被迫写Facebook大纪元这样开始:

我很喜欢说很少有公司像Facebook一样被低估,特别是在硅谷Admittedly, it seems strange to say such a thing about a $245 billion company with a trailing 12-month P/E ratio of 88, but that is Wall Street sentiment; in the tech bubble many seem to simply assume the company is ever on the brink of teetering “just like MySpace”, never mind the fact that the social network pioneer barely broke 100 million registered users, less than 10% of the number of active users Facebook attracted in a single day late last month或者,正如更清醒的头脑可能会争辩的那样,Facebook今天看起来势不可挡,但十年前谷歌看起来势不可挡,当时社交似乎无处不在:肯定Facebook杀手迫在眉睫!

这种情绪肯定会恢复正常!

有可能转向基于广泛的精神分析,我认为很多Facebook的怀疑主义是因为很多内容看起来如此浅薄,或者在过去几年的情况下,主动恶意这样的产品如何生存?

事实上,它存在它存在的原因:Facebook在扎克伯格的哈佛宿舍开始数字化线下关系已经存在,在现实生活和实际物理“书面”Facebook是如此强大,因为它与现实世界的直接联系:它是浅薄的,有点恶意,有时是恶意的 - 是的,往往是好的 - 因为我们人类是浅薄的,有点恶意,有时是恶意的 - 是的,往往是好的。

By extension, to insist that Facebook will die any day now is in some respects to suggest that humanity will cease to exist any day now; granted, it is a company and companies fail, but even if Facebook failed it would only be a matter of time before another Facebook rose to replace it.

That seems unlikely: for all of the company’s travails and controversies over the past few years, its moats are deeper than ever, its money-making potential not only huge but growing both internally and secularly; to that end, what is perhaps most distressing of all to would-be competitors is in fact this quarter’s results: at the end of the day Facebook took a massive hit通过选择; the company is not maximizing the short-term, it is spending the money and suppressing its revenue potential in favor of becoming more impenetrable than ever.

“绝对的灾难”。

  1. There is Messenger as well; I am更可疑的长期盈利潜力因为它的自然广告空间 - 状态更新和故事 - 基本上就是Facebook的[↩︎]