Facebook has really been on fire in the past few years. Between the Oculus Rift finally becoming a reality, Free Basics expanding and near-domination of emerging markets through Messenger and Whatsapp, 2015 has arguably been one of Facebook’s best years. On top of all of this, Mark Zuckerberg has announced he wants to program a custom A.I. to up Facebook’s position in that sector. Add incredible growth in Facebook itself to that equation and you get a pretty stellar 2015. When all was said and done, Q4 showed about $5.8 billion, while the entire year’s gross was a cool $17.9 billion.
A huge part of the reason for these high numbers is a pretty big increase in the ARPU, average revenue per user. Between increased ads and side services, Facebook managed to wring a whopping $3.73 a pop out of the average user quarter, up from $2.97 last quarter. The United States had the most profitable users, sitting pretty at $13.54 a head this quarter, up from $10.49. That amount may not sound like much, but consider the fact that as of last quarter, there were over 1.5 billion active users worldwide. This ARPU figure is extremely important to keep high, since Facebook’s new user growth is starting to reach saturation and could slow down significantly very soon. As long as each individual user keeps becoming more and more valuable, however, Facebook can continue to post profit growth even if new users stop coming entirely.
Another area of key growth for Facebook this year was in new forms of advertising, particularly video. Facebook made big investments into video advertising this year and so far, it’s paid off immensely. Speaking to Re/Code about the advertising revolution, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said, “”In terms of replacing TV, we certainly don’t think we’re going to replace any one medium, our growth is pretty broad. We do think that eyeballs are shifting, not just from TV but from a lot of other formats to mobile. And we are positioned very well to not just participate but to lead that shift.” Facebook’s stock jumped 7.5 percent in light of the posted earnings, painting a positive picture for the company’s future.