Facebook expects its payments revenue for 2016 to come in lower than 2015. The company couldn’t be more clear: ads are “the big focus.”
The company’s ad revenue this quarter soared 57% year over year, hitting $5.4 billion, of which $4.2 billion – 82% – was mobile.
In comparison, total payments and “other fees” revenue was $181 million, down 20% from last year. “This decline was mainly driven by a reduction in payments revenue related to games played on personal computers,” said Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, during the earnings call yesterday. She continued:
Our focus, however, continues to be on our ad products because we think we can take people all the way from the top of the funnel, where they can really get a brand awareness or product awareness, and go all the way down to purchase, not necessarily because the purchase is happening on Facebook, but because we can work on the measurement systems to understand how the advertising, both at the top and lower down in the funnel is influencing those purchases.
Even though the company enabled debit card payments on the standalone Messenger app, those transactions are free for users, and payments for goods or services are not available … for now.
We are not rolling out any monetization products on WhatsApp right now, but we did start that process at F8 on Messenger. And what we’re doing is following the organic activity that’s happening on the Messenger platform. Businesses and consumers are using Messenger to connect to each other in a more personal, more immediate way. And we rolled out a platform beta, which gives new opportunities to build compelling experiences. Bots, very early, but giving the opportunity for more personal interactions between businesses and mobile.
Whether that organic activity will lead to paid transactions is unclear, but it’s easy to imagine functionality expanding to pay utility bills, cross-border payments, and the like. In fact, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg did imply he will soon be viewing Messenger from a more “transactional” angle.
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