Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) may be the premier social media network on the internet, but it's also much more. It's a major advertising platform and news delivery gateway, just to name a few things. Certainly, Mark Zuckerberg didn't envision Facebook the way it's turned out when he was sitting in his Harvard dorm room, but its evolution into something woven into the fabric of our everyday lives is an achievement nonetheless.
We've asked three of The Motley Fool's top contributors to share companies that remind them of Facebook. These stocks may not be an essential part of our existence, yet, but read on to see how Criteo (NASDAQ:CRTO), Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO), and Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK) all have characteristics reminiscent of the social-media platform.
A better mouse trap
Daniel Miller (Criteo): Finding the next Facebook is nearly an impossible task because Facebook does so many things incredibly well. The company's brilliance often makes other genius companies in Silicon Valley second-rate. But Criteo reminds me of Facebook in the sense that its business revolves around connecting the right user to the right advertisement better than anybody else does. It's made a solid business out of doing just that:
Criteo offers what it calls performance marketing: It combines technology, data, science, and insight into a transparent cost-per-click model on a global scale for advertisers.
For example, you're on a device looking at merchandise to purchase online but don't pull the trigger, have you noticed an advertisement for that product showing up on an article you read later? This is what Criteo does. And with Criteo better connecting the dots between publishers and advertisers, everybody wins. Further, Criteo's recent acquisition of Hooklogic enables the company to tap into a new large pocket of advertisers and brand manufacturers, and it also brings in more talent to help enhance its current products as well as build future services.
In the world of advertising, knowledge is power. And in a world where we're more interconnected and growing our digital footprints, connecting consumers to relevant advertisements at a higher conversion rate using big data is an intriguing business model. While Criteo is a long way away from being the next Facebook, it's tough to find another young company creating such a strong business model from advertising.
This Chinese internet company has cracked the profit code
Brian Feroldi (Momo): China is unlike every other country on Earth. Because the government guards what's available on the internet, it can be hard for foreign tech giants to gain a foothold. That's a big reason local Internet giants such as Baidu, Alibaba, and YY have managed to build up such a stranglehold in the region.
One Chinese Internet company that I have my eye on is Momo. This company built up a big user base through the rollout of location-based online data. However, the company recently made a decision to go after the live video-streaming market. That strategy change has turned Momo into a true powerhouse.
Last quarter, Momo's overall revenue grew by 421% to $265 million on the back of surging revenue from its live streaming service. What's more, the number of monthly active users grew 18% year over year to 85 million, while those who are paying to access the service grew to 4.1 million. These massive growth numbers caused Momo's bottom line to soar 633%, and they show that consumers are rapidly flocking to its platform, just as they have been doing with Facebook for years. Meanwhile, the number of internet users in China is estimated to be well above 700 million and growing, so Momo still has plenty of room left for expansion.
Looking ahead, Momo believes that its hyper-growth rates are poised to continue. Next quarter, management is guiding for top-line growth of at least 186%. Given the massive opportunity ahead for Momo, I think the company's top and bottom lines could continue to rise rapidly for quite some time. That makes this a great stock for growth investors to keep their eyes on.
Rich Duprey (Splunk): Turning the massive amounts of data that corporations produce into something usable that they can act on remains the focus of businesses such as Splunk. This company helps businesses capture, store, analyze, and curate the information they generate. We don't hear the term "big data" quite as much as we used to, but the operational intelligence specialist continues to profit from its existence.
In its fiscal 2018 first-quarter earnings report, Splunk said revenue rose 30% and GAAP and adjusted losses both narrowed for the period, as almost 500 new enterprise customers were added to its roster during the quarter.
Like a certain social-media network in its early days, Splunk is taking an existing platform and transforming it into a next-level opportunity. It wasn't first to market in data analytics, and today it's nowhere near the largest -- it's going up against giants such as IBM and Oracle, among others -- but offering its customers a complete end-to-end solution that earns high marks for the flexibility and reliability it brings to instantly searching, monitoring. and analyzing machine data.
And the more data companies produce and bring to Splunk, the more it gets paid, with trailing revenue finally cresting the $1 billion mark. The amount of data the world produces isn't going to shrink and in fact will grow exponentially. That suggests Splunk's market opportunity and leadership in the space will grow just as much, or more so, right along with it.