The euphoria leading up to Facebook's (NASDAQ:FB) Q1 earnings news on April 22 has long since disappeared. As has been the case with social media stocks in general of late, Facebook shares have been under pressure, and are down about 7% the past couple of weeks. The question is: does Facebook's recent drop make it an even better opportunity, or should investors expect more of the same going forward?
Thankfully for long-term investors in search of growth, answering the aforementioned question is a slam-dunk. Facebook has a bevy of growth opportunities in the wings just waiting to be unwrapped. And that equates to a world of opportunity -- even more so following Facebook's recent share price decline.
A quick recap
As strong as Facebook's revenue jump of 42% year-over-year was in Q1, perhaps even more impressive was its mobile results, along with user growth and engagement efforts. Of Facebook's $3.32 billion in advertising revenues, a whopping 73% came from mobile ad sales, up from "just" 59% a year ago. CEO Mark Zuckerberg's laser-like focus on ensuring Facebook is mobile-friendly -- for both users and advertisers -- is a smashing success.
Along those same lines, of Facebook's staggering 1.44 billion monthly average users (MAUs) a full 1.25 billion are of the mobile variety. To put Facebook's MAU growth into perspective, social media wannabe Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) grew its MAUs by 14 million last quarter, despite being a fraction of Facebook's size. Facebook? It added 50 million new users last quarter -- and that's not even the best part.
User engagement, another concern of Twitter bears, is one of Facebook's strongest suits. Last quarter, 936 million -- a 17% improvement over the prior year's Q1 -- accessed Facebook daily. Not only is Facebook growing its overall user base in spite of its already huge size, nearly a billion people use it every single day. That's the kind of user engagement Twitter CEO Dick Costolo can only dream about.
Now for the really good news
Unfortunately, Facebook made the rumors official recently: its new Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset won't be released until Q1 of 2016. That's not necessarily surprising based on recent scuttlebutt, though earlier this year expectations were that Rift would be available to the masses in the fall of 2015. The delay of Rift, however, doesn't detract from the long-term potential revenue impact for what is widely viewed as the leader in VR solutions.
Even as gamers are champing at the bit for a Rift headset, investors and industry pundits are waiting for Facebook to take the wraps off what some insiders value as a $35 billion asset: Instagram. Already, Instagram boasts more MAUs than Twitter, it's a favorite among the desirable teen demographic, and it's barely scratching the surface of its revenue potential. Video ads in particular, something Facebook finally unveiled across its site, should work wonders on photo-sharing Instagram.
And let's not forget the 800 million MAUs WhatsApp now claims, nor the over 500 million users Facebook's in-house Messenger service has. Sure, there are questions as to how to best monetize WhatsApp when it reaches the vaunted 1 billion MAU level -- a prerequisite before monetization, as per Zuckerberg -- but the possibilities are endless.
Analysts have suggested WhatsApp could generate as much as $7 billion annually by implementing enhanced calling features, incorporating video communications, and a payment function, to name but a few possibilities. Messenger may be monetized in many of the same ways as WhatsApp eventually will, as well, adding even more fuel to Facebook's growing revenue fire.
And there's more: COO Sheryl Sandberg said there's approximately 30 million small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) that host pages on Facebook but aren't currently advertising on the site. That equates to a world of opportunity, which Sandberg is well aware of. Let's not forget Zuckerberg's Internet.org initiative to bring connectivity to the world's underserved markets -- and presumably drive MAU growth -- is just now getting started.
Add it all up, and Facebook stock is an absolute steal at these levels for investors in search of growth.