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COVID-19 advertising sales boost Facebook profit

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook posted better-than-expected third quarter results yesterday, as COVID-19 advert sales helped the company record $8 billion in profit.

The social media titan says the pandemic has contributed to an acceleration in the shift of commerce from offline to online, and it experienced increasing demand for advertising as a result.

Facebook is one of the few companies in the world that has continued to grow amid a broader economic downturn due to COVID-19.

In the quarter, Facebook recorded a 22% year-over-year increase in revenue to $21.2 billion, as well as a 12% increase in profit to $8 billion.

Facebook daily active users were 1.82 billion on average for September, an increase of 12% year-over-year, and monthly active users were 2.74 billion as of 30 September, another increase of 12% year-over-year.

"We had a strong quarter as people and businesses continue to rely on our services to stay connected and create economic opportunity during these tough times," says Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder and CEO.

"We continue to make significant investments in our products and hiring in order to deliver new and meaningful experiences for our community around the world."

The current quarter Facebook results came in higher than the market expected after the social media giant had to deal with an advertising boycott.

The boycott, called #StopHateForProfit by the civil rights groups that organised it, urged companies to stop paying for ads on Facebook in July to protest the platform's handling of hate speech and misinformation.

#StopHateForProfit saw big consumer brands such as Unilever, Verizon, Starbucks, Coca-Cola and Clorox pull their adverts. Some pulled their ads for a month, while some put their ads on an indefinite “pause”.

Looking ahead in the fourth quarter, Facebook says the current growth trend is expected to continue.

“We expect our fourth quarter 2020 year-over-year ad revenue growth rate to be higher than our reported third quarter 2020 rate, driven by continued strong advertiser demand during the holiday season.”

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