Already, Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) share price drop after announcing earnings a few days ago is making its way back up the ladder; which should surprise absolutely no one. Why? Because the reasons for the sell-off, even after posting revenues 59% higher than last quarter and increasing the amount of sales from mobile ads to 66% of its $2.96 billion in advertising revenues, were near-term only. But as many Foolish investors know, knee-jerk reactions based on short-term situations are too often the rule, not the exception.
Longer-term, as noted in an article last month, the prospects for Facebook's future are nothing short of extraordinary, and investors that pull the trigger now will almost surely be thankful later. The multiple revenue opportunities Facebook has yet to either maximize, or even unveil as yet, is enough to stir up some excitement. If not, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's plans for the next 10 years, as shared on its recent earnings call, certainly should.
Facebook in the near-term
The "near-term" in this instance refers to Zuckerberg's plans for Facebook in the next three years. Near the top of Facebook's list is to grow its multiple properties. The services Zuckerberg refers to as "our community," include WhatsApp and its 700 million monthly active users, or MAUs, Instagram's fast-growing international user base, as well as Messenger, Facebook's video, and even its Oculus virtual reality headset Rift.
In addition to WhatsApp's and Instagram's recent wins, a billion videos a day are now seen on Facebook, and 864 million "friends" use the site daily. Already, the popularity of Facebook's multiple assets are making a dent in overall digital ad spending, to the dismay of Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL).
To be sure, Google is in another digital advertising league, at least for now, but Facebook is making inroads. In fact, eMarketer suggests that Facebook will grab 10% of the digital ad spend in the U.S. this year, compared to a touch over 30% for Google. But that gap has narrowed dramatically in the last couple of years, and If Zuckerberg and team are able to get its many properties to scale like Facebook itself has, the trend is likely to continue.
A bit further down the road
Five years from now, as its "communities" have grown in size, messaging will be a focus. With the closing of the WhatsApp deal now complete, Zuckerberg foresees an influx of developers expanding the scope of WhatsApp's capabilities. And plans are to build out Facebook's developer community well beyond WhatsApp in five years' time, providing a cross-platform solution to monetize apps across multiple mobile services.
Mobile is already making huge strides, both in terms of mobile MAUs Facebook and generating revenues, and it's easy to see that growing exponentially as more Facebook developers get on board. From developer's perspective, they'll be able to write one killer app and make it available across Messenger, WhatsApp, Facebook itself, among others all, in one fell swoop.
The face of Facebook in 10 years
When Facebook acquired Oculus and its Rift VR technology earlier this year, the opportunities in gaming were obvious. Oculus' Rift had already become a favorite among gamers, and combined with Facebook's renewed emphasis on developing apps, the potential is huge. But Zuckerberg made it clear when announcing the deal he has a lot more in store for Oculus than just gaming, which is why Oculus plays such a key role in Facebook's future 10 years out.
Already, Rift is being tested in the brokerage industry as a means of "virtually" tracking investment portfolios, and Bloomberg is toying with its popular terminal, a mainstay in brokerage houses, with an Oculus-friendly version. Zuckerberg also alluded to his Internet.org initiative as being a key driver of growth, and it should be an integral part of Facebook over the next 10 years. If there were concerns about topline user growth, beaming Internet connections to the billions currently left wanting should allay those fears.
Final Foolish thoughts
Like any corporate plan, Facebook's objectives, and the prioritization of those objectives, will change over time; that's par for the course. But unlike some investors, as we just saw after Facebook announced its Q3 earnings, Zuckerberg and team are looking ahead, just as they should. The good news for investors is Zuckerberg's plans for the future are not only doable, the opportunities are enormous.